EFFECT OF INTERCROPPING ON SOIL HYDRO-THERMAL REGIME, CROP PERFORMANCE AND WEED SITUATION IN A CASSAVA/OKRA INTERCROP
Experiments were conducted in Abeokuta, south-western Nigeria to evaluate the effect of intercropping okra with cassava (Cv. Odongbo Idileru and TMS 30572) on soil hydrothermal regime, weed control, crop growth and yields. Treatments were randomized within three blocks in a split-plot design. Main plot was cropping system and subplot was cassava variety. Intercropping of cassava with okra significantly reduced the soil temperature by 2-7 % and weeds biomass by 60-76 %, and increased soil moisture content by 8-21 % and light interception by 16 % compared with sole cassava. Number of surface earthworm casts was 176 % higher than in sole okra. Intercropping with cassava did not significantly affect the vegetative characters, number of days to flowering and harvesting and harvest duration of okra, irrespective of the cassava cultivars. Vegetative characters and tuber yield of cassava were also not significantly affected by intercropping with okra.Â Tuber yield of Cv. Odongboâ€™ was significantly reduced by 15-21% than Idileru, and 31-35% than TMS 30572. Yield advantage of intercropping increased by 78-114% compared to sole cropping. It is concluded that okra can be grown in mixture with cassava to provide a suitable environment for growth, but this depends on the cassava cultivar. Using a short early maturing cassava cultivar, with a moderate leaf area index in a mixture with okra is therefore recommended.
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