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EFFECTS OF INTERCROPPING PATTERN ON SOYABEAN AND MAIZE YIELD IN CENTRAL RIFT VALLEY OF KENYA

Kipkemoi, P.L1, Wasike, V.W.2., Ooro, P.A.1, Riungu, T.C3, Bor, P.K1. and Rogocho, L.M1.
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KARI-Njoro

P.O Njoro, Kenya E-mail: Karinjoro@karinjoro.org


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KARI Headquarters P.O Box 58711 NIAROBI


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KARI-Muguga

ABSTRACT
Intercropping is being adopted as a method of crop production in Kenya. Farmers often intercrop legumes with non-legumes. A study to assess the productivity of maize (Zea mays L) and soybean (Glycine mux (L.) Merr.) in sole cropping and intercropping systems was done at National Plant Breeding Research Centre Njoro in 1997 and 2001 seasons. Soybean was seeded in one, two or three rows between two maize rows and on the same row with maize. The maize population densities of about 44,000 and 36,000 plants per hectare were used in 1997 and a uniform plant population of about 44,000 plants per hectare was planted in 2001. The control treatments were sole cropping maize and sole cropping soybean at about 55,000 and 222,000 plants per hectare respectively. The trial layout was completely randomized block design with four replicates in both years. Intercropping significantly (p=0.05) reduced soybean number of pods per plant and 100 seed weight in 1997 but not in 2001. Grain yield of soybean in the soybean- maize intercrop was reduced by 59% to 75% in 1997 and 21% to 68% in 2001 compared to sole cropped soybean. Land equivalent ratio on both years was greater than one, indicating that this cropping system is profitable in terms of land utilization. It was concluded that maize is a dominant component crop in maize and soybean intercropping system and that it is advantageous to intercrop. Key words: Intercropping, sole cropping, intercrop, Land equivalent ratio (LER), maize. Soybean

INTRODUCTION
Intercropping is the growing of two or more crop species simultaneously on the same field. This is a common practice in most countries in the tropics. Maize, potatoes, oilseed crops and pulses are commonly used as

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component of intercrops combination crops in Kenya. There are several possible benefits of intercropping legumes with non-legumes. In terms of land use efficiency intercropping is regarded as more productive than sole cropping. (Andrew and Kassam, 1976). Higher nutrient uptake and better water use efficiency have also been suggested. (Dallal, 1974, Baker and Norman, 1975). Various reasons have been given for the adoption of the system in Kenya (Mwania, et al. 1990). These include risk of crop loss due to adverse environmental conditions, need for balanced diet, and the desire to optimize the use of labour and to optimize the use of land. The advantage is often expressed as a land equivalent ratio (LER). LER greater than one indicates that more sole cropped land than intercropped is required to produce a given amount of product. The LER of maize-soybean intercrops ranged from 0.98 to 1.55 in Zambia (Mwipaya, 1990), and 1.2 to 1.8 in Ethiopia (Kidane. et al. 1990). Nitrogen fixing legumes generally do not need Nitrogen fertilizer, whereas, the non-legumes requires additional mineral nitrogen for optimum growth. Besides its own nitrogen requirement, legumes may contribute additional nitrogen to the soil, which can be used by the component crop in the intercrop or the succeeding crops. Soybean production in the farming system of central Rift Valley is gaining increased awareness as a good source of human protein food. The objective of the study was to evaluate the productivity of intercropping soybean with maize.

MATERIALS AND METHODS


The study was carried out at Njoro (0o 20' S and 35o56'E) in Nakuru District, Kenya, which lies at an altitude of 2160m above sea level, in the agro-ecological zone LH3 . The soils are vintric mollic andosols that are well drained, deep to dark reddish brown friable and silt clay soils with humic top soil. The rainfall is bimodal and well distributed (886 mm/yr) with an average maximum and minimum temperatures of 24 respectively (Jaetzold and Schmidt, 1983) The field was under commercial wheat crop the previous year in both years. The experimental design was a completely randomized block design replicated four times. The soybean cultivar planted was Hill and its component crop was maize hybrid H614D in 1997. The treatments included sole soybean, one row of soybean between two rows of maize, and two rows of soybean between two rows of maize, soybean planted in the same row with maize and sole maize crop. Maize was spaced at 75cm by 30cm and 90cm by 30cm with population of about 44,000 and 37,000 plants per hectare respectively. The gross plot dimensions were 6m by 3m. The plot received 100 kg/ha of Diammonium phosphate at planting. In both years the test crops were hand planted. The plots were maintained clean by weeding three times and insect pests of soybean were controlled by 1479
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C and 8

C,

application of insecticides. Five plants from each plot were sampled randomly for the determination of height and yield components. The whole plot was harvested for soybean seed yield. A similar trial was planted in the long rains of 2001. The differences to treatments of 1997 is the inclusion of three rows of soybean between two rows of maize and the fact that a uniform population of44, 000 plants/ha of maize was used. The soybean cultivar planted was EAI 3600 instead of cv Hill. Maize variety used was same as in 1997. The data collected was subjected to an analysis of variance using computer SAS programme. Intercropping was assessed, relative to that of sole crops, by use of Land Equivalent Ratios (LERs), which is defined as the proportion of land area that is required for sole cropping to produce the same yields as intercropping (Mead and Willey, 1980). The LERs were calculated using the formula: LER = Ym/Sm + Ys/Ss Where Ym and Ys are the respective yields of maize and soybean in intercropping and Sm and Ss are the respective yields of maize and soybean in sole cropping.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


In 1997, the soybean plant heights and the number of pods per plant were affected by intercropping with maize. When intercropped the pods were significantly (P=0.05) reduced as compared with sole soybean treatment. The seed weight was also significantly (p=0.05) reduced by intercropping (Table 1). intercropping soybean in maize did not significantly affect any of the yield components. Different pattern of

Table 1: Soybean yield components as affected by intercropping with maize at Njoro in 1997

Treatment Sole soybean One row1 Two rows1 One row2 Two rows2 Same row2 C.V%

Height (cm) 47.8 48.9 50.4 50.0 49.0 45.0 9.1

Pods/plant 40.3a 17.5b 20.0b 21.8b 17.0b 21.5b 25.9

Seeds/pod 2.00 1.95 1.70 1.85 2.10 2.00 16.1

100 seed weight (gm) 10.8a 10.2ab 9.6b 10.1ab 10.0ab 9.7b 5.9

Means followed by the same letter are not significantly different at the 5% level Maize spacing: 90cm by 30cm

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Maize spacing: 75cm by 30cm In 2001 soybean plant heights at maturity, pods per plant and seeds per pod were not affected by intercropping with maize. Soybean grain yield was reduced by 59% to 75% when intercropped with maize (Table 2) but the yield of maize was not significantly (p=0.05) affected. In 2001 Soybean yields were reduced by 21 to 68% as compared to the sole cropped soybean (Table 3). In both years maize was the dominant component ot the intercrop in terms of partial LERs.

Table 2: Seed yield and land equivalent ratios of maize and soybeans in sole crop and intercrop systems planted in 1997 at Njoro

Treatment

Yields (kg/ha) Maize Soybean Maize

Partial LERs Soybean 1.0 0.98 1.11 0.85 1.04 1.50 1.0 0.32 0.60 0.79 0.22 0.41

Totals LERs

Sole maize1 Sole soybean1 One row1 Two rows 1 One row2 Two rows 2 Same row 1 C.V. %

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2554 2247 2048 2066 2976 29.6

1115a 280b 390b 310b 440b 455b 22.6

1.0 1.0 1.54 1.48 1.31 1.26 1.91

Means followed by the same letter are not significantly different at the 5% level.
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Maize spacing: 90cm by 30 cm Maize spacing: 75cm by 30cm.

Table 3: Seed yield and land equivalent ratios of maize and soybeans in sole crops and intercrop systems planted in 2001 at Njoro

Treatment

Yields (kg/ha) Maize Soybean Maize

Partial LERs Soybean 1.0 0.98 1.11 0.85 0.96 1.0 0.32 0.60 0.79 0.51

Totals LERs

Sole maize1 Sole soybea1 One row1 Two rows 1 Three rows1 Same row 1 C.V. %

3585 3500 3996 3062 3430 38.9

776a 252b 462ab 613ab 392b 45.5

1.0 1.0 1.30 1.78 1.64 1.47

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Means followed by the same letter are not significantly different at the 5% level.
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Maize spacing: 75cm by 30cm.

The yields obtained from two and three rows of soybean between maize rows spaced at 75cm by 30cm were statistically similar and higher than other intercrop treatments. Ezumah et al (1987) and Wahua et al (1981) reported 55% to 61% and 40% to 55% reduction of cowpea yield when cowpea was intercropped with maize. Intercropping of maize planted at a population of 53330 plant/ha with soybean at 266660 plant/ha reduced the number of soybean pods per plant by 46% and the seed yield per hectare by 42% and 46% in the early (may) and late (July) seasons respectively (Muoneke et al (2007). Maize is taller than soybean in stature. The higher yield reduction of soybean when intercropped with maize could be due to interspecific competition and depressive effect of maize crop. Van der Meer (1989) noted that both competition and facilitation take place in many intercropping systems, and that it is possible to obtain the net result of land equivalent ratio (LER where the complementary facilitation is contributing more to the interaction than the competitive interference. Thus, an LER>1 could result from low interspecific competition or strong facilitation. Yield advantages were determined using Land Equivalent Ratio (LER). The total LER in both years for all intercropping treatments were greater than one indicating that all the treatments had an advantage in land use (Table 2 and 3). In 1997, the intercropping of soybean and maize seeded in the same row resulted in superior LER than the other treatments (Table 2). These results are similar to those reported by Mutungarimi et al (2001) who observed that the intercropping of maize and beans in the same row resulted in highest LER value to other intercrops. In 2001, two rows of soybean planted between two rows of maize resulted in superior LER (Table 3). This is in agreement with the results reported by Finlay (1975) who observed that in maize/soybean and sorghum intercrops on alternate row arrangement was superior to planting on the same row or the same hole. In this study, the observed differences in LERs in the two years could be attributed to the different cultivars of soybean used as intercrops with maize. Although two different soybean cultivars were used in the two years of this study to intercrop with maize, it was apparent that maize was the dominant component in the intercrop. There seemed, though, that soybean cultivar differences exist in their competitive abilities. Intercropping involves competition, and as such can be viewed as a kind of stress. Cultivar selection should, therefore, be directed at minimizing intercrop competition and maximizing complementary effects. It is, however, advantageous to intercrop maize with soybeans since yield of maize is not significantly affected and at least some yield of soybean is realized from the same piece of land.

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CONCLUSION
The results of this study showed that soybean and maize could be intercropped. Intercropping is much more efficient in utilizing the available resources than sole cropping as indicated by the high LER values

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors wish to thank GTZ soybean project for providing funds for the study in 1997 and the Centre Director, National Plant Breeding Research Centre for encouragement and facilitation of the study.

RERERENCES
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