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Effect of Egusi Planting Density on Productivity of Egusi/Turmeric Intercrops in Southeastern Nigeria

Keywords: Southeastern Nigeria , plant density , intercropping , turmeric , Egusi melon

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Abstract:

Field trials were conducted at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Teaching and Research Farm, Umudike (Lat. 05°29‘N, Long. 07°33‘E), Southeastern Nigeria in 2008 and 2009 to determine the effect of egusi planting density on the productivity of component crops in egusi/turmeric intercropping system. Turmeric at 80, 000 plants ha-1 was intercropped with egusi three planting densities of 20, 000; 40, 000 and 66, 670 plants ha-1. The experiment was laid out as Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with three replications. Across the planting densities, intercropping reduced egusi seed yield by 44% in 2008 and 43% in 2009. Similarly, on the average, intercropping reduced turmeric rhizome yield by 41, 53 and 57% at egusi planting densities of 20, 000; 40, 000 and 66, 670 plants ha-1, respectively. There was yield disadvantage as depicted by LER below unity (0.995) when turmeric was intercropped with egusi at 20, 000 and 40, 000 plants ha-1 and a yield advantage of 19% (LER = 1.19) when turmeric was intercropped with egusi at 66, 670 plants ha-1. Economic analysis (gross monetary returns) showed that sole turmeric was more profitable than sole egusi or egusi/turmeric intercrop at lower egusi planting densities. Comparative assessment of the mixtures indicated that it was better to grow the two crops separately.

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