Spatial arrangements and time of introducing an intercrop on the productivity of component crops in maize (Zea Mays L) - Soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merrill) intercropping systems.

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June, 2010
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A field experiment was conducted, at the Faculty of Agriculture Farm (Plantation section), KNUST, Kumasi in the Kumasi metropolis of Ashanti region of Ghana during the 2009 growing season. The experiment examined the effects of seeding date (simultaneous with maize, 1 or 2 WAPM) at four levels of spatial arrangements; 1:1, 2:2, 3:3, and 4:4 on soil nutrient budget and performance of the component crops in maize (Zea mays l) - soybean (Glycine max (L) Merrill) intercropping systems. The maize was sown at a spacing of 80 x 40 cm and intercropped with the soybean planted at 0, 1 and 2 week after planting the maize (WAPM). The soybean was sown at a spacing of 60 x 5cm. Non-intercropped plots were made to serve as sole crop or control. The compound fertilizer, NPK (15-15-15) was applied to the sole maize 4 WAP at 60 kg/ha and top dressed with sulphate of ammonia at 50 kg N/ha at 8 WAP. The results showed that intra- and interspecific competition in the system affected the performance of the crops with respect to yield and quality. The late intercrops grew poorly as an intercrop component, producing little or no grain. Leaf area, leaf area index, dry weights, crop growth rate, relative crop growth rate and the yield components decreased with delay in intercropping as results of competition of intercrop components for nutrients, light, and space. In the case of the maize, delay in intercropping resulted in increased grain yield. This implied that the early intercropped maize plants experienced greater competition than the late intercropped maize plants. Land equivalent ratio also decreased with delay in intercropping. It is recommended to intercrop soybean at 0 WAPM in 1:1 spatial arrangement combinations.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science (Agronomy).