Assessment of the Profitability and the Effects of Three Maize-Based Cropping Systems on Soil Health in Western Africa
American Journal of Agriculture and Forestry
Volume 2, Issue 6, November 2014, Pages: 321-329
Received: Dec. 23, 2014; Accepted: Jan. 6, 2015; Published: Jan. 14, 2015
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Authors
Kodjovi Sotomè Detchinli, Ecole Supérieure d’Agronomie, Université de Lomé, Lomé, Togo
Jean Mianikpo Sogbedji, Ecole Supérieure d’Agronomie, Université de Lomé, Lomé, Togo
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Abstract
Enhanced livelihoods for populations, especially smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa may be achieved through improved cropping systems. We assessed the economic returns from maize grain yield and the effects of three cropping systems on soil properties in an eight-year study segmented in cycles of two years each: continuous maize (Zea mays L.), maize-mucuna (Mucuna pruriens var. utilis), and maize-pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan). The rainfall pattern in the study region allows for two growing seasons per year, leading to four growing seasons per cycle. Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilizer rates were imposed on maize in each system and maize grain yields and associated cash values as well as soil properties were measured. Seeding mucuna and pigeon pea crops into maize crop in the first year did not result in maize grain yield increases from N and P fertilizers in the subsequent year. Continuous maize system increased mean maize grain yields by 6.2 to 60.3% in the fallow year of the 2002-2003 and 2006-2007 cycles and by 5.1 to 8.2% on a cycle basis in the 2002-2003 cycles. For the remaining periods of the study, mucuna and pigeon pea based maize cropping increased grain yields by 28.6 to 47.6%, 22 to 260% and 28.3 to 136.1% in fallow year, non-fallow years and on a cycle basis, respectively, compared to yields under continuous maize. On a cycle basis, economic returns for maize-mucuna and maize-pigeon pea based systems were 105.1 and 66.5%, respectively, higher than that for continuous maize. The mucuna and pigeon pea based systems increased the initial soil total carbon (C) content by 55 and 69%, respectively, resulted in increases of 110 to117%, 33 to 63%, 29%, and 16-17% for exchangeable Ca2+, Mg2+, K+ and total cation exchange capacity (CEC), respectively, and enhanced water stable macroaggregates stability, compared to continuous maize. Maize mucuna and pigeon pea-based maize cropping systems with mucuna and pigeon crops in alternate years should be advised towards sustaining enhanced profitability and improved soil physical and chemical properties.
Keywords
Maize, Mucuna, Pigeon Pea, Fertilizer, Soil Properties, Profitability
To cite this article
Kodjovi Sotomè Detchinli, Jean Mianikpo Sogbedji, Assessment of the Profitability and the Effects of Three Maize-Based Cropping Systems on Soil Health in Western Africa, American Journal of Agriculture and Forestry. Vol. 2, No. 6, 2014, pp. 321-329. doi: 10.11648/j.ajaf.20140206.25
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