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Comparative analysis of nutritional status and growth of immature oil palm in various intercropping systems in southern Benin

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 May 2020


Hermione Koussihouèdé
Affiliation:
UR Ecopédologie; Laboratoire de Sciences du sol; Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, BP 526Cotonou, Benin
Hervé Aholoukpè
Affiliation:
Centre de Recherches Agricoles Plantes Pérennes (CRA-PP), Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du Bénin, BP 01Pobè, Benin
Jeremie Adjibodou
Affiliation:
UR Ecopédologie; Laboratoire de Sciences du sol; Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, BP 526Cotonou, Benin
Haniel Hinkati
Affiliation:
UR Ecopédologie; Laboratoire de Sciences du sol; Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, BP 526Cotonou, Benin
Bernard Dubos
Affiliation:
CIRAD, UPR système de pérennes, F-34398Montpellier, France
Lydie Chapuis-Lardy
Affiliation:
UMR Eco&Sols, Université de Montpellier, CIRAD, INRA, IRD, Montpellier SupAgro, 34060Montpellier, France LMI IESOL, Centre de recherche ISRA-IRD, BP 1386Dakar, Sénégal
Bernard G. Barthès
Affiliation:
UMR Eco&Sols, Université de Montpellier, CIRAD, INRA, IRD, Montpellier SupAgro, 34060Montpellier, France
Guillaume Amadji
Affiliation:
UR Ecopédologie; Laboratoire de Sciences du sol; Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, BP 526Cotonou, Benin
Cathy Clermont-Dauphin
Affiliation:
UMR Eco&Sols, Université de Montpellier, CIRAD, INRA, IRD, Montpellier SupAgro, 34060Montpellier, France LMI IESOL, Centre de recherche ISRA-IRD, BP 1386Dakar, Sénégal
Corresponding
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Abstract

Beninese smallholders associate food crops and cash crops with immature oil palms to reduce field maintenance costs and gain income before the palms reach productive phase. Little is known about the effects of these crops on the nutritional status and growth of the palms in their immature phase even though the yield of adult palms can be affected by the management practices during this phase. The objective of this study was to evaluate the most common oil palm-based intercropping systems found in southern Benin in terms of nutritional status and growth of the palm. Within 15 oil palm farms, we compared 15 immature oil palm fields where the crop succession associated with the oil palms was dominated by maize, cassava, tomato, and pineapple. The nutrient concentrations in the soil and the palm leaves, and growth indicators were measured at the end of the immature phase. We found that the palm growth indicators were the lowest in the successions with pineapple. N and P nutrition of the immature palms was satisfactory but K was deficient in all systems, especially in those with pineapple. The K levels in the soils and palm leaves were correlated. Rough field budgets comparing the amounts of N and K applied to the crop successions with their N and K exports from non-returning products indicated that soil indigenous K supply would be particularly depleted in the systems with pineapple. We concluded that the young oil palms were affected by the competition for K exerted by the crop successions with pineapple even though they were the most fertilized in the region. The high profitable crop is therefore associated with the lowest growth rates of the immature palms. The mineral fertilizer management in these oil palm temporary intercropping systems should be improved.


Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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