Velvet Bean and Cowpea Residual Effects on Maize Crop in Smallholder Farming Areas of Zimbabwe

Obert Jiri, Paramu L Mafongoya

Abstract


On-farm research was conducted in Dendenyore Communal Land and Zana Resettlement areas of Hwedza District, Zimbabwe from 1999 to 2001. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effects of velvet bean and cowpea on growth and yield of maize in legume-maize rotation system. A total of 14 treatments, which consisted of forage legume and maize crops were examined. The experiment was established in a randomized complete block design with 9 replicates. On-farm sites were the replicates. The results show a significant residual effect of velvet bean and cowpea, when grown with single super phosphate fertiliser, on the maize stover and grain yield. They indicate significant phosphorus residual effects on a subsequent maize crop on sandy soils. Forage legumes contribute to residual soil fertility in fallen leaves and roots that increases yield of subsequent crops. The results also reveal that biomass production in perennial leys, grazed during the dry season, would be greater in the second season than in the establishment year. The results also indicate that in the velvet bean systems, especially green manure, nitrogen is lost very early in the season. This may lead to lack of synchrony between nutrient availability and crop uptake. The maize after green manure system had a nitrogen use efficiency of about 11 kg/kg of nitrogen applied. These results show the residual potential of forage legumes in reducing nitrogen fertiliser need for subsequent maize crops in mixed livestock-cropping systems.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/sar.v7n1p54

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