Growth and yield of hybrid maize (Zea mays L.) varieties as affected by cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) growth types intercropping systems in Northern Ghana.

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Self-sustaining, low-input, and energy-efficient agricultural systems in the context of sustainable agriculture have always been in the centre of attention of many farmers, researchers, and policy makers in the Northern Region and Ghana as a whole. However, most practices of modern agriculture, e.g. mechanization, monocultures, improved crop varieties, and heavy use of agrochemicals for fertilization and pest management, led to a simplification of the components of agricultural systems and to a loss of biodiversity. While modern agriculture especially hybrid seed production has brought vast increases in productivity to the world’s farming systems, it is widely recognized that much of this may have come at the price of sustainability. Restoring on-farm biodiversity through diversified farming systems such as mix cropping that mimic nature is considered to be a key strategy for sustainable agriculture by small scale farmers. To address these concerns, studies were conducted at Nyankpala in the Savanna agro ecological zone in the Northern region of Ghana involving two cowpea growth types, erect and spreading intercropped with hybrid maize to assess the influence of these intercrops on the physiological behaviour of the hybrid maize and their impact on the productivity of the system. The experiment was laid in a split plot arranged in RCBD with four replications. The main plot factor was cowpea growth type, erect cowpea (Songotra), spreading cowpea (Sanzi) and no cowpea (sole maize). The sub plot factor was maize type, which were hybrid maize varieties Pan53, Etubi, Mamaba and Obatampa (OPV). The result of soil analysis after harvesting showed that the higher the density of the cowpea biomass the better it can sustain the fertility of the soil. Generally, grain yield of sole maize (No cowpea) among the main plot factors recorded significant higher result as compared to grain yield of the two intercropping systems. The results of Benefit Cost Ratio of the cowpea/maize intercrops showed a higher ratio as compared to the result of their respective soles. The Benefit Cost Ratio of Pan 53 recorded no significant differences among the sole and its intercrops. Obatanpa, on the other hand, recorded significantly higher yield as a good material for intercropping.  
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Philosophy in Agronomy (Crop Physiology).