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Intercropping of Maize (Zea mays) and Cowpea (Vigna sinensis) as Whole-Crop Forage: Effect of Different Planting Pattern on Total Dry Matter Production and Maize Forage Quality

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Abstract:

Mixtures of cereals and legumes are used extensively for forage production. Maize (Zea mays) and cowpea (Vigna sinensis) monocultures as well as their mixture in three planting patterns (M1: alternate-row intercrop, M2: within-row intercrop, M3: mixed intercrop) were used to investigate on forage yield as well as the effect of intercropping on maize forage quality. The experiment was carried out as randomized complete block design with three replications. The results showed that intercropping systems had a significant effect on forage dry weight, where dry matter yield was increased by intercropping as compared with maize and cowpea sole crops. It was related with a higher consumption consumption of environmental resources, such as photosynthetically active radiation and soil moisture, by intercropping. Maize forage quality in terms of crude protein was improved by intercropping. It was because of more nitrogen availability for maize in intercropping compared with its sole crop.

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