Title: No rain but bumper harvest: the magic of pigeonpea in semi-arid Kenya

Authors: Kizito M. Kwena; Fredrick O. Ayuke; George N. Karuku; Anthony O. Esilaba

Addresses: Department of LARMAT, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 29053-00625, Nairobi, Kenya; Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Katumani Research Centre, P.O. Box 340-90100, Machakos, Kenya ' Department of LARMAT, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 29053-00625, Nairobi, Kenya ' Department of LARMAT, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 29053-00625, Nairobi, Kenya ' Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), P.O. Box 57811-00200, Nairobi, Kenya

Abstract: Land degradation and low rainfall seriously constrain agricultural production in arid and semi-arid areas. A study was conducted at Katumani Research Centre between 2009 and 2013 to investigate the effect of pigeonpea and crop residues on soil physical properties and maize yields. Sole- and inter-crops of maize and pigeonpea varieties drawn from three maturity groups and three crop residue application rates were evaluated in a split-split plot design with pigeonpea varieties, cropping systems and crop residue application rates as the main plot, sub-plot and sub-sub-plot, respectively. Results showed that maize-pigeonpea intercrops accumulated very low soil organic matter and hence, did not improve soil physical properties. Instead, they increased soil bulk density and reduced soil aggregation. Intercropping maize with pigeonpea requires more water compared to maize and pigeonpea sole crops. Mbaazi II-maize intercrop offers the best option since it gave the highest maize and pigeonpea grain yields and produced sufficient stover and stalks.

Keywords: aggregate stability; maize yields; crop residues; pigeonpea; Kenya.

DOI: 10.1504/IJARGE.2018.093994

International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 2018 Vol.14 No.2, pp.181 - 203

Available online: 31 Jul 2018 *

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