Crop yield and weed growth under conservation agriculture in semi-arid Zimbabwe

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dc.contributor.author Mashingaidze, Nester
dc.contributor.author Madakadze, I.C. (Ignacio Casper)
dc.contributor.author Twomlow, Stephen
dc.contributor.author Nyamangara, Justice
dc.contributor.author Hove, Lewis
dc.date.accessioned 2012-11-19T06:53:39Z
dc.date.available 2012-11-19T06:53:39Z
dc.date.issued 2012-08
dc.description.abstract Constraints to effective weed management may be the main reason for the small area under minimum tillage (MT) in smallholder farming in southern Africa. The effect of maize residue mulching and intensity of hand hoe weeding on the growth of weeds, cowpea (Vigna unguiculata cv. IT 86D-719) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor cv. Macia) was investigated in the fifth and sixth years of a conservation agriculture (CA) field experiment at Matopos Research Station (28830.920E, 20823.320S). The experiment was a split-plot randomized complete block design with three replications. Tillage was the main plot factor (conventional tillage – mouldboard plough compared against MT systems – ripper tine and planting basins) and maize residue mulch rate (0, 4 and 8 t ha 1) the sub-plot factor. Hoe weeding was done either four times (high weeding intensity) or twice (low weeding intensity) during the cropping season. Planting and weeding were done at the same time in all treatments. There was markedly greater early season weed growth in MT systems relative to mouldboard plough (MBP) in both crop species. In sorghum, MT (planting basins: 40.3 kg ha 1; ripper tine: 34.8 kg ha 1) systems had higher cumulative weed biomass measured after planting than MBP (29.9 kg ha 1) system. Maize mulching was generally associated with increased mid- to late-season weed growth in the two crops probably due to improved soil moisture conservation during periods of low precipitation. Weed suppression by the maize mulch was observed only in sorghum and limited to early in the cropping season with no effect observed for the remainder of the sorghum rotation phase. The high weeding intensity treatment had lower weed growth in both crops and better sorghum yield than low weeding intensity. The MT systems had poor crop establishment which translated into low yields. Cowpea grain yield obtained from MT systems was less than 300 kg ha 1 compared to 413 kg ha 1 in MBP. The poor sorghum establishment in MT systems translated into low grain yield as sorghum grain yield was lowest in planting basins (2602 kg ha 1) and highest in MBP with 4159 kg ha 1. Results suggest that CA systems require early and frequent hoe weeding even after four years to reduce weed infestations and improve crop growth. This higher demand on a smallholder household’s limited labor supply throughout the cropping season will be a key determinant of the spread and adoption of CA in southern Africa. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship The Department for International Development of the United Kingdom (DFID-UK) and the International Foundation for Science (IFS). en_US
dc.description.uri http://www.elsevier.com/locate/still en_US
dc.identifier.citation Nester Mashingaidze, Casper Madakadze, Stephen Twomlow, Justice Nyamangara & Lewis Hove, Crop yield and weed growth under conservation agriculture in semi-arid Zimbabwe, Soil and Tillage Research, vol. 124, pp. 102-110 (2012), doi: 10.1016/j.still.2012.05.008. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0167-1987 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1879-3444 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1016/j.still.2012.05.008
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/20432
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Elsevier en_US
dc.rights © 2012 Elsevier. All rights reserved. Notice : this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Soil and Tillage Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Soil and Tillage Research, vol 124, August 2012, doi:10.1016/j.still.2012.05.008. en_US
dc.subject Conservation agriculture en_US
dc.subject Maize residue mulch en_US
dc.subject Hoe weeding en_US
dc.subject Cowpea en_US
dc.subject Sorghum en_US
dc.subject Weeds en_US
dc.title Crop yield and weed growth under conservation agriculture in semi-arid Zimbabwe en_US
dc.type Postprint Article en_US


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