AJPS  Vol.5 No.11 , May 2014
Root Length Density in Maize/Cowpea Intercropping under a Basin Tillage System in a Semi-Arid Area of Zimbabwe
Abstract: A study to assess the effect of intercropping maize (Zea mays L.) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) within the same basin or outside the basin on root length density (RLD) was conducted at the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) Matopos Research Station from December 2009 to April 2010. The experiment was laid out in a Randomised Complete Block Design (RCBD) with four treatments replicated four times namely; sole maize, sole cowpea, maize-cowpea intercrop with cowpea and maize planted within the same basin and maize-cowpea intercrop with cowpea planted 20 cm outside the maize basin. There was significant difference (P < 0.001) in RLD, grain yield and stover yield. Maize-cowpea intercropped within the same basin achieved higher RLD, grain yield and stover yield than cowpea that was intercropped outside the basin and the sole crops. The land equivalent ratio (LER) in both intercrop designs showed that intercropping had better grain yield performance when compared to sole cropping. It can be concluded that intercropping maize and cowpeas within the same basin can result in an environment around the crop achieving higher RLD which translates to better grain yield compared to the sole cropping and intercropping cowpeas outside the basin.
Cite this paper: Dube, E. , Madanzi, T. , Kapenzi, A. and Masvaya, E. (2014) Root Length Density in Maize/Cowpea Intercropping under a Basin Tillage System in a Semi-Arid Area of Zimbabwe. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 5, 1499-1507. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2014.511165.

[1]   Vincent, V. and Thomas, R.G. (1961) Part I: Agro-Ecological Survey of Southern Rhodesia. Government Printers, Salisbury, 124.

[2]   Rukuni, M. and Eicher, C. (1994) Zimbabwe Agricultural Revolution. University of Zimbabwe Publications, Harare.

[3]   FAO (2003) Conservation Agriculture in Zimbabwe. FAO, Rome, 2.

[4]   Nyamudeza, P. (1998) Rainfed Cropping and Water Conservation on Vertisols in the South Eastern Lowveld of Zimbabwe. Proceedings of a Workshop on Vertisols Management in Africa, Harare.

[5]   Hove, L. and Twomlow, S. (2008) Is Conservation Agriculture an Option for Vulnerable Households in Southern Africa? The Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Land Management to Improve the Livelihood of People in Dry Land Areas Workshop, Damascus, 7-9 May 2007.

[6]   Madanzi, T., Chiduza, C. and Richardson-Kageler, S. (2010) Effects of Planting Method and Seed Size on Stand Establishment of Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill c.v. Solitaire]. Soil and Tillage Research, 106, 171-176.

[7]   Goddard, T., Zoebisch, M.A., Gan, Y.T. and Sombatpaint, S. (2008) No Till Farming Systems. Special Publication Number 3, World Association of Soil and Water Conservation, Bangkok, 169p.

[8]   Agronomy Institute (1993) Summer Report. Department of Research and Specialist Services, Ministry of Lands and Agriculture, Harare.

[9]   Twomlow, S., Urolov, J.C., Jenrich, M. and Oldrieve, B. (2008) Lessons from the Field—Zimbabwe’s Conservation Agriculture Task Force. Journal of SAT Agricultural Research, 6, 1-11.

[10]   Lima Filho, J. (2000) Physiological Responses of Maize and Cowpeas to Intercropping. Agropec. Brasillia, 35, 915-921.

[11]   Nzabi, A.W., Makini, F., Onyongo, M., Kidula, N., Muyonga, C.K., Miruku, M., Mutai, E. and Gesare, M. (2000) Effects of Intercropping Legume with Maize on Soil Fertility and Maize Yield. Proceedings of the 2nd Scientific Conference of the Soil Management and Legume Research Network Projects, Mombasa, June 2000.

[12]   Chatterjee, B.N., Mati, S. and Mandal, B.N. (1989) Cropping Systems—Theory and Practice. 2nd Edition, Oxford and IBH Publishing, New Delhi, 121-185.

[13]   Van Noordwijk, M. and Van DeGeijn, S. (1996) Rootshoot and Soil Parameters Required for Process Oriented Models of Crop Growth Limited by Water or Nutrients. Plant and Soil, 183, 1-25.

[14]   Kuchenbuch, R.O. and Ingram, B. (2004) Effects of Soil Bulk Density on Seminal and Lateral Root of Maize Plants. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 167, 229-235.

[15]   Goodman, A.M. and Ennos, A.R. (1999) The Effects of Soil Bulk Density on the Morphology and Anchorage Mechanics of the Root Systems of Sunflower and Maize. Annals of Botany, 83, 293-302.

[16]   Eskandari, H. and Ghanbari, A. (2009) Intercropping of Maize and Cowpea as Whole—Crop Forage: Effect of Different Planting Pattern on Total Dry Matter Production and Maize Forage Quality. Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanicae Cluj Napoca, 37, 152-155.

[17]   Nyamapfene, K.W. (1991) The Soils of Zimbabwe. 2nd Edition, Nehanda Publishers, Harare, 179p.

[18]   Materechera, S.A. and Mloza-Banda, H.R. (1997) Soil Penetration Resistance, Root Growth and Yield of Maize as Influenced by Tillage System on Ridges in Malawi. Soil and Tillage Research, 41, 13-24.

[19]   Newman, E.I. (1966) Methods of Estimating the Total Length of Roots in a Sample. Journal of Applied Ecology, 3, 139-145.

[20]   Buckman, H.O. and Brady, N.C. (1999) The Nature and Properties of Soils. 12th Edition, Upper Prentice Hall.

[21]   Mead, R. and Willey, R.W. (1980) The Concept of a “Land Equivalent Ratio” and Advantages in Yields from Intercropping. Experimental Agriculture, 16, 217-228.

[22]   Sullivan, P. (1998) Intercropping Principles and Production Practices. Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA). Fayettiville Publications, Arizona, 230p.

[23]   Jones, C.A., Bland, W.L., Ritchie, J.T. and Williams, J.R. (1991) Simulation of Root Growth. In: Hanks, J. and Ritchie, J.T., Eds., Modeling Plant and Soil Systems, American Society of Agronomy, Madison, 91-123.

[24]   Konopka, B., Pages, L. and Doussan, C. (2009) Soil Compaction Modifies Morphological Characteristics of Seminal Maize Roots. Plant Soil Environ, 55, 1-10.

[25]   Nyakatawa, E.Z. and Kamba, E. (1996) Productivity of Maize and Cowpeas Sole Crops and Intercrop System on Black Vertisols of the South-East Lowveld of Zimbabwe. In: Ransom, J.K., Palmer, A.F.E., Zambezi, B.T., Mduruma, Z.O., Waddington, S.R., Pixley, K.V. and Jewell, D.C., Eds., Maize Productivity Gains through Research and Technology Dissemination. Proceedings of the Eastern and Southern Africa regional Maize Conference, Arusha, 3-7 June 1996, CIMMYT, Addis Ababa, 123-125.