Besides carbon (C) sequestration, biochar (BC) is recently believed to deliver multiple eco-friendly benefits to the soil for enhancing crop productivity. Use of mineral fertilizers coupled with BC been suggested a promising sustainable strategy for increasing crops yield. However, imperative study is needed to investigate (1) BC integration with multiple legumes crop adjusted in summer gape for pooling more organic carbon and nitrogen, and (2) subsequently looking into its synergism with mineral N in the following crop. Therefore, two years’ field experiments were conducted on maize under cereal based cropping pattern with the adjustment of legumes (i.e., mungbean, cowpea, and Sesbania) with a fallow in summer. In legumes, treatments consist of (0 and 50 t ha−1) BC application. However, N rates of 0, 90, 120, 150 kg ha−1 were added to the subsequent maize crop. Preceding legumes plots with the use of 50 t ha−1 biochar enhanced maize grain yield, above ground biomass, stover N, grain N, soil C, and N content after maize harvest and N use efficiency as compared to non-legumes with BC and legumes without BC plots. N application increased grain yield, above-ground biomass, stover N, grain N, and soil N but reduced N use efficiency with higher rates. Conclusively, the integration of biochar and legumes is a promising option for increasing the entire farm production of cereal-based cropping systems. This increment in yield was associated with supplying a viable input of N and C to soil and increased yields from this supplementary ‘summer gap’ crop.
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition