Response of bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L) Verdc.) landraces to plant density and phosphorus application

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Field experiment was conducted at the Plantation section of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi (6o 43/ N, 1o 36/ W) in the forest zone of Ghana, during the major season (May – September), 2008 to study the response of two bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L) verdc.) landraces to population density and phosphorus application. The experimental design was a 2 x 3 x 3 Factorial in a randomized complete block design (RCBD). Two bambara groundnut landraces (Mottled cream and Nav 4), 3 fertilizer rates (0, 20 and 40 kg P2O5/ha) and 3 plant population densities (30cm x 30cm, 30cm x 40cm and 30cm x 50cm) were randomized in three blocks to give a total of fifty-four (54) plots. The two varieties differed in their growth and yield components. Mottled Cream emerged earlier, flowered and reached maturity earlier than Nav 4. It also had greater 100-seed weight. NAV 4 recorded greater canopy spread and produced more shoot dry matter, pods per plant, greater pod dry weight and higher yield than mottled cream. Population density had significant effect on some growth functions such as leaf area index, crop growth rate, relative growth rate, net assimilation rate and seed yield with the densest stand of 11 plants/m2 (30cm x 30cm) producing the highest values. The results showed that phosphorus application did not have any significant influence on growth and yield components of bambara groundnut probably due to initial medium P levels in the soil. Following the responses of the landraces to the varying growth and yield components, it was observed that the performance of NAV 4 was significantly higher than Mottled Cream. It was also observed from the results that population of 11 plants m-2 is the best among the three population densities in both growth and yield characters. It is therefore recommended that farmers cultivate NAV 4 using plant density of 11 plants/ m2 in both subsistence and commercial farming in order to achieve maximum yield to contribute to food security in the country.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science in Agronomy, March-2013