Adaptability of Soyabean (Glycine max (L). Merr) varieties to intercropping under leaf Stripped and Detasselled maize (Zea mays L.)
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Intercropping of maize (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glycine max (L). Merr) is becoming a common practice among smallholder farmers but soybean is sensitive to shading resulting in yield decline. A research study to evaluate the adaptability of soybean varieties to intercropping under leaf stripped and detasselled maize was conducted at the University of Zimbabwe Farm (Thornpark Farm) during the 2006 /2007 rainy season. The experiment was laid out as a 3 x 3 x 2 factorial with controls in a Randomized Complete Block Design. The three factors were; cropping system (sole maize, maize-soybean intercrop, sole soybean), soybean variety (Storm, Solitaire and Magoye) leaf stripping and detasselling (intact maize, four bottom leaves removed and tassel removed). In the intercrop, two soybean rows were planted between maize rows. Leaf stripping and detasselling was done at 50% silking. Weed counts were taken at 6 and 9 weeks after crop emergence (WACE) and at physiological maturity. Yield and yield components were determined at harvesting. There were significant differences (P < 0.05) in the performance of the soybean varieties, Storm had the highest yield (1770 kg/ha) which was not significantly different from Solitaire (1496 kg /ha), but Magoye gave the lowest yield (837 kg/ha), which was different from either Storm or Solitaire. There was a significant difference in performance of soybean varieties under different cropping systems (P < 0.05). The soybean varieties performed better as sole crop (1838 kg/ha) than under intercropping (maize (intact)-soybean: 868 kg/ha), maize (leaf stripped and detasselled: 950 kg/ha). Leaf stripping and detasselling and cropping system had no significant effect on 1000-grain weight and grain yield of maize. The Land Equivalent Ratio (LER) values of the various intercropping systems were all greater than 1 indicating the advantages of intercropping. Cropping system, soybean variety and leaf stripping and detasselling had no significant effect on total weed biomass at 6 and 9 WACE but had significant effect on total weed biomass at physiological maturity. Results suggest that intercropping reduces the yield of soybean but there is an advantage of intercropping since the LER values were greater than 1.The soybean crop can be considered as a bonus crop from which a farmer can reap additional financial and nutritional benefits as well as residual soil fertility. The stripped leaves from the maize can be fed to livestock. Magoye is not adaptable to intercropping.