ON-FARM EXPERIMENTS WITH MAIZE-MUCUNA SYSTEMS IN THE LOS TUXTLAS REGION OF VERACRUZ, SOUTHERN MEXICO. II. MUCUNA VARIETY EVALUATION AND SUBSEQUENT MAIZE GRAIN YIELD
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Despite interest in mucuna (Mucuna pruriens) as a green manure/cover, crop, biomass production of its accessions has been poorly quantified, including in the Los Tuxtlas region of Veracruz, Mexico where smallholders have used maize (Zea mays)-mucuna systems increasingly since 1991. This on-farm research compared the biomass production of three mucuna varieties (white-, mottled-, and black seeded) in a rotational maize-mucuna system. Mucuna was sole-cropped during the first season (on eleven and five fields in 1996 and 1997 respectively), and its impact on the second-season maize yield was measured (on seven fields in 1996). White and mottled varieties produced equal biomass (7.92 and 6.74 t ha(-1) in 1996 and 1997 respectively), and more than the black variety (6.85 and 4.90 t ha(-1) in 1996 and 1997 respectively). Mucuna increased 1996/97 second-season maize grain yields by 50% (from 0.97 to 1.46 t ha(-1)). Plots previously cropped with white and mottled varieties produced greater maize yield (1.55 t ha(-1)) than did black-variety plots (1.29 t ha(-1)). The research confirmed the higher productivity of the white and mottled varieties and the potential of the rotational system. Allocating the more desirable first-season growth period to mucuna and the riskier second season to maize is problematic, but the system may have potential in the region as a short-term fallow that permits second-season maize production.
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