Agronomic Performance of Collards under Two Intercrops and Varying Nitrogen Application Levels as Assessed Using Land Equivalent Ratios

Samuel Kilonzo Mutiga, Linnet S. Gohole, Elmada. O. Auma


Sustainable utilization of the limited land parcels is an important element in resource poor countries whose
populations depend on agriculture for sustenance. In East Africa, collard vegetable production has been a venture
for many small-scale farmers. Since no approaches are possible in expanding the land resource, improved crop
production techniques and management promise better yields. We report a potential and sustainable approach for
collard production. We compared the productivity of growing collards in an intercrop with chilli or spring onions,
and varying nitrogen levels in each cropping system in terms of land equivalent ratios (LER). Our two - season
data show that farmers can obtain higher yield in a unit of land when they intercrop collards with spring onions
as indicated by a LER of 1.06, and that growing collards in an intercrop with Chilli leads to a 14% wastage of
land resource compared to growing the crop as a monoculture. Further, we reveal that application of nitrogenous
fertilizer might lead to increase in yield but it does not have a statistically significant benefit on the land resource
There were no statistically significant relationship between the yield of collards and their heights in all cropping
systems, but a non-significant(r=-0.29, p=0.164) decline of yield was observed under collard + chilli intercrop.
The number of collard leaves was significantly negatively correlated (r=- 0.456, p=0.0249) with yield LER under
collard + chilli intercrop but it did not influence the LER under collard + spring onion intercrop. These findings
demonstrate the need for proper resource application, and that collard + spring onion intercrop has a potential to
improve collard yield per unit piece of cultivated land without a need for increasing the rate of nitrogenous
fertilizer application.

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Journal of Agricultural Science ISSN 1916-9752 (Print) ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)

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