Crotalaria (C-ochroleuca G Don) as a green manure in maize-bean cropping systems in Uganda uri icon

abstract

  • Crotalaria (C. ochroleuca G. Don.) used as a green manure may improve the productivity of maize-bean cropping systems in eastern Africa. To test this hypothesis, three field studies were conducted over three consecutive cropping seasons at Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute in Uganda. In the first season, crotalaria biomass was produced in pure stands or in intercrop systems with either common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) or maize (Zea mays L.) as companion crops. Crotalaria was sown at planting and three weeks after planting the food crops. The biomass of early planted crotalaria was mulched, that of late planted crotalaria was incorporated into the soil at planting of the following crop. The first subsequent crop was maize, and the second was either beans (in two seasons) or maize (in one season). In the crotalaria production season, mean yield losses of maize through intercropping with early or late sown crotalaria were 40 and 22%, respectively; the corresponding values for beans were 45 and 14%, In the first cropping season after crotalaria production, the increase in maize grain yield on account of crotalaria averaged 39%; the best response (68% increase) to crotalaria was obtained with early sown sole crotalaria applied as mulch. Major differences in soil mineral nitrogen content among the treatments occurred at the six-leaf stage of maize only. In the second cropping season following crotalaria production, the mean increases in seed yields of beans or maize, due to crotalaria, were 23 and 19%, respectively, indicating a considerable residual effect of crotalaria green manure. The decrease in bulk density, and the increase in water infiltration capacity of the soil suggest that the yield stimulation because of crotalaria not only resulted from the increased nitrogen supply, but also from more favorable soil physical properties. Considering the competitive effect of crotalaria with the food crops and the positive effect on yields of subsequent crops, two options are especially promising: incorporation of crotalaria produced by relay intercropping with beans and mulching of early sown crotalaria produced in pure stands. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B,V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 1999
  • 1999