Article ID: UTD-132
The nitrogen (N) contribution of rye (Secale cereale L.) to tomato production may increase when grown and applied with hairy vetch (Vicia villosa R.) to the soil. To examine the uptake and recovery efficiency by tomatoes and retention in the soil of N derived from 15N-labeled rye applied as a monoculture and biculture with hairy vetch, a Wagner pot examination was conducted under plastic high tunnel conditions in Sapporo, Japan. Irrespective of cover crop residue management, the peak of rye-derived N uptake occurred between 4 and 8 weeks after transplanting (WAT) and ceased between 8 and 12 WAT. Rye-derived N uptake by tomatoes (shoot + fruit) was 58.3% greater in rye monoculture treatment than in the biculture of hairy vetch and rye treatment because of higher rye-derived N input, whereas rye-derived N recovery was greater in the biculture treatment (34.0%) than in monoculture treatment (26.9%). The soil retained 47.0% and 52.5% of the rye-derived N input in the biculture (972 mg N/pot) and rye monoculture (1943 mg N/pot) treatments, respectively. Rye-derived N stored in the roots and possibly lost was estimated at 19.0% and 20.6% of the rye-derived N input in the biculture and monoculture treatments, respectively. Hairy vetch in the biculture treatment contributed 46.2% more N to tomato production than rye, and the hairy vetch N contribution was more significant during the late period (4–8 WAT) than the early period (0–4 WAT) of tomato cultivation. Therefore, the biculture may change the N release pattern from both hairy vetch and rye, with the cover crops releasing high amounts of N in both the early and late periods of tomato cultivation. These results may help improve N management in vegetable production systems by maximizing the use of plant-derived N by crops, thereby reducing N fertilizer inputs.