Effects of cowpea leaf harvesting initiation time on yields and profitability of a dual purpose sole cowpea and cowpea maize intercrop
Aguyoh, Joseph Nyamori
Itulya, Francis M.
Mshenga, Patience. M.
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Harvesting of cowpea leaves for use as leaf vegetable has gained prominence in many parts of Africa and Asia. Little is known on effects of leaf harvesting on leaf and grain yields and profitability of cowpea-based cropping systems. This study sought to determine yields and profitability sole cowpea or cowpea-maize intercrop under different cowpea leaf harvesting initiation times. The study was conducted at Kenya National Dry land Research Center – Machakos using a Randomized Complete Block Design with cowpea grown as a monocrop or intercropped with maize. Leaf harvesting was initiated at 2, 3 or 4 weeks after cowpea emergence (WAE) and a control where no leaf harvesting was done. Initiating leaf harvesting at 3 and 4 WAE resulted in highest leaf and grain yields, respectively among leaf harvested cowpea. Overall, cowpea grain yields were highest in control treatment. Leaf vegetable and grain yields were lower in intercrop than in monocrop treatments. Maize yields in intercrop treatments were improved following harvesting of leaves of the companion cowpea. Initiating leaf harvesting at 3 and 4 WAE yielded highest returns in cowpea-maize intercrop and sole cowpea, respectively. Intercropping was on overall more profitable than sole cropping.
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