Growth Charateristics and Yield Effect of Plant Spacing and Intercropping Maize and Cowpea
The trial was carried out at the Teaching and Research farm of The College of Education, Lanlate to determine the growth characteristics and yield effects of plant spacing and intercropping maize and cowpea. The experimental design used was Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) six treatments and five replicates. The treatments were as follows; (1) Cowpea intercropped with maize at 50 X 50cm spacing; (2) Cowpea intercropped with maize at 25 X 25 cm spacing; (3) Sole maize at 50 X 50cm spacing; (4) Sole cowpea at 50 X 50cm spacing; (5) Sole maize at 25 X 25cm spacing and (6) Sole cowpea at 25 X 25cm spacing. Each treatment was replicated five times to make thirty (30) experimental plots. The planting of maize (Zea mays) and the cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) was done on 12th June, 2016 with different spacing while the supplying was done a week later. The seeds emerged five days after planting. The plots were kept weed free for the first weeks after planting manually and subsequently done at two week interval. Thinning was done three weeks after planting which was on 27th June, 2016. Thinning was done to reduce the plant to one per stand. The stem height and girth of the cowpea and maize were measured in centimetre (cm) from 2nd week of planting using ruler till the harvesting. At harvesting, number of pods per plant, number of seeds per pod, first day of flowering, weight of the seeds was measured for the cowpea while the number of seeds per cob and the weight of the seed were measured for the maize. The stem height and girth for maize and cowpea were used to evaluate the growth of the crops in each week to harvesting while the number of pods, weight of seeds, flowering period, and weight of cob were used to evaluate the yield of cowpea and maize. Data were analysed by the general linear model statistical procedure with the comparisons of means among treatments with Duncan Multiple Range Test (DMRT). The growth of maize is better when intercropped with cowpea at 50X50cm spacing. The growth of maize intercropped with cowpea at 25X25cm spacing is better also using the stem height as comparative measure when compared with the sole maize both at 50X50cm and 25X25cm spacing respectively. It is observed that interplanting of maize and cowpea will really improve the growth and yield of maize and not for the cowpea. A wider spacing for the two crops at 50 X50cm spacing will also bring a slight increase in the yield of cowpea. It is recommended that to boost the yield maize only and to maximize the available land for planting, planting of maize with cowpea at 50 X 50cm spacing is very important.
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