Adiele et al
Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences Vol. 4 (2), pp. 058-066, March 2014.
Manuscript Number: 1205131015
Management of Short Fallows Using Two Different Cover Crops
Joy G. Adiele*, Lawrence I. Chukwu, Anthony O. Ano and ThankGod N. Echendu
National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike. KM 8 Ikot Ekpene Road, PMB 7006 Umuahia Abia Nigeria.
*Corresponding Author’s Email: joyadiele @ yahoo. com, Phone: 234 (0) 803 868 0437
In Nigeria significant efforts are being made to improve and conserve the soil. In the time past the soil resource base was sustained through long fallows of 10-15 years. Due to population pressure and other conflicting interests on land, fallow period is now between 6 and 12 months. This natural fallow has proved ineffective for the sustenance of soil productivity. The present study compared the soil productivity improvement attribute of three fallow management systems - two leguminous cover crops (Mucuna pruriens var. utilis and Pueraria phaseoloides) seeded on June 2012 and natural fallow dominated by guinea grass (Panicum maximum). Mucuna treatments significantly provided soil cover until six months, while Pueraria provided soil cover for 12 months and reduced weeds compared with Mucuna and the control. However, there were no significant differences in soil physicochemical properties before and after round the year fallow. Therefore, both cover crops could be sown to replace the natural fallow. Mucuna fallow appears to be an effective system for 6 month fallow while Pueraria could provide cover and effectively suppress weeds for 12 months.
Keywords: Root and tuber crops; Legumes; Soil; Short fallow; Conservation.
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