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Productivity of Okra-Maize intercropping system as influenced by varying maize plant densities in Makurdi, Nigeria

Author: 
M.O. Ijoyah, E.O. Adagba and T. Iorlamen
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Field experiments were conducted from June to October during the 2010 and 2011 cropping seasons, at the Research Farm, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria, to evaluate the productivity of okra-maize intercropping system as influenced by varying maize plant densities and to assess the advantages of the intercropping system. The treatments consisted of three maize plant densities (33,000, 40,000 and 50,000 plants ha-1) into okra plots, while the sole crops of okra and maize at their recommended plant densities of 33,000 and 40,000 plants ha-1 respectively, constituted the fourth and fifth treatments, which also served as controls. The five treatments were replicated four times in a randomized complete block design. The results obtained showed that in okra-maize intercropping system, increasing maize plant density up to 50,000 plants ha-1 reduced intercropped okra yield, while the increase in maize plant density significantly (P≤0.05) increased intercropped maize yield. Maize sown at 50,000 plants ha-1 into okra plots, not only recorded the lowest competitive pressure but gave the highest land equivalent ratio (LER) values of 1.83 and 1.86 respectively, in years 2010 and 2011, indicating that greater productivity per unit area was achieved by growing the two crops together than by growing them separately. With these LER values, 45.4 % and 46.2 % of land were respectively saved in 2010 and 2011, which could be used for other agricultural purposes. This study showed that in an okra-maize intercropping system, the optimal maize plant density would be 50,000 plants ha-1. This should therefore be recommended for Makurdi location, Nigeria.

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