90991
Improving Grain Yields in Senegal through Millet-Cowpea Intercropping.

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See more from this Session: Graduate Student Oral Competiton Crops
Monday, February 2, 2015: 10:45 AM
Westin Peachtree Plaza, Chastain F
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Patrick Trail, 300 Turner Street NW Mail Code 0312, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA and A. Ozzie Abaye, 330 Smyth Hall (0404), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Situated on the western edge of Africa’s harsh Sahel region, Senegal faces a number of agricultural development constraints.  Limited rainfall, poor soil fertility, and insufficient agronomic inputs all contribute to the low yielding millet production systems that farmers struggle to live on.  This study was initiated to assess the potential for intercropping different cowpea varieties (upright and trailing) with the traditional, and widely-spaced, pearl millet crop.  In 2013 and 2014, in Senegal’s central millet-peanut basin, three different bean varieties were monocropped and then intercropped with millet to evaluate the potential for increasing millet and overall yields, without requiring the use of other expensive agronomic inputs.  Single rows of bean were planted into the wide millet rows that are typically found in Senegal, providing a unique opportunity for successful intercropping.  Grain yields were used to calculate Land Equivalency Ratios (LER) to determine potential advantages over traditional monocropping practices.  Soil moisture readings and NDVI data were also collected to help correlate the yield results.  Results showed that millet grain yields increased when intercropped with either cowpea or mungbean, and resulted in 10-40% higher grain yields at both sites.  Overall grain yields (millet + bean) increased at similar rates over the traditionally monocropped millet.  Soil moisture retention was found to be slightly higher in the intercropped systems, but it was not found to be significantly different from monocropped millet systems.  Intercropping different bean crops has great potential in Senegal for increasing grains yields and building soil health through the inclusion of legumes and the increase in ground cover that they may provide.
See more from this Division: Submissions
See more from this Session: Graduate Student Oral Competiton Crops