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Analysis of maize–common bean intercrops in semi-arid Kenya

  • C. J. Pilbeam (a1), J. R. Okalebo (a1), L. P. Simmonds (a2) and K. W. Gathua (a1)


Maize (Zea mays L.) and common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) were each sown at four plant densities, including zero, in a bivariate factorial design at Kiboko Rangeland Research Station, Kenya during the long and short rains of 1990. The design gave nine intercrops with different proportions of maize and beans, and six sole crops, three of maize and three of beans. Seed yields in both the sole crops were not significantly affected by plant density, so the mean yield was used to calculate the Land Equivalent Ratio (LER), which averaged 1·09 in the long rains but only 0·87 in the short rains. These low values were apparently due to the fact that beans failed to nodulate and fix nitrogen in the study area. The difference in LER between seasons was probably caused by differences in the amount and distribution of rain in relation to crop growth. Maize was more competitive than bean, each maize plant being equivalent to between 0·7 and 3·4 bean plants depending upon the treatment and the season.



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Analysis of maize–common bean intercrops in semi-arid Kenya

  • C. J. Pilbeam (a1), J. R. Okalebo (a1), L. P. Simmonds (a2) and K. W. Gathua (a1)


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