Staff Publications

Staff Publications

  • external user (warningwarning)
  • Log in as
  • language uk
  • About

    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

    We have a manual that explains all the features 

Record number 501871
Title Unravelling the causes of variability in crop yields and treatment responses for better tailoring of options for sustainable intensification in southern Mali
Author(s) Falconnier, G.N.; Descheemaeker, Katrien; Mourik, T.A. Van; Giller, K.E.
Source Field Crops Research 187 (2016). - ISSN 0378-4290 - p. 113 - 126.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2015.12.015
Department(s) Plant Production Systems
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Cereals - Intercropping - Legumes - Rotation - Soil type
Abstract

Options that contribute to sustainable intensification offer an avenue to improve crop yields and farmers' livelihoods. However, insufficient knowledge on the performance of various options in the context of smallholder farm systems impedes local adaptation and adoption. Therefore, together with farmers in southern Mali we tested a range of options for sustainable intensification including intensification of cereal (maize and sorghum) and legume (groundnut, soyabean and cowpea) sole crops and cereal-legume intercropping during three years on on-farm trials. There was huge variability among fields in crop yields of unamended control plots: maize yielded from 0.20 to 5.24tha-1, sorghum from 0 to 3.53tha-1, groundnut from 0.10 to 1.16tha-1, soyabean from 0 to 2.48tha-1 and cowpea from 0 to 1.02tha-1. This variability was partly explained by (i) soil type and water holding capacity, (ii) previous crop, its management and the nutrient carry-over and (iii) inter-annual weather variability. Farmers recognized three soil types: gravelly soils, sandy soils and black soils. Yields were very poor on gravelly soils and two to three times greater (depending on the crop) on black soils. Yields were also poor at the end of the typical crop rotation, i.e., after sorghum and millet, and 1.3-1.7 times greater (depending on the crop) after the fertilized crops maize and cotton. We diagnosed a number of cases of technology failure where no improvement in yield was observed with hybrid varieties of maize and sorghum and rhizobial inoculation of soyabean. Regardless of soil type and previous crop, mineral fertilizer improved yields by 34-126% depending on the crop. Targeting options to a given soil type and/or place in the rotation enhanced their agronomic performance: (i) the biomass production of the cowpea fodder variety was doubled on black soils compared with gravelly soils, (ii) the additive maize/cowpea intercropping option after cotton or maize resulted in an average overall LER of 1.47, no maize grain penalty, and 1.38tha-1 more cowpea fodder production compared with sole maize. Soil type and position in the rotation, two indicators easy to assess by farmers and extension workers, allowed the identification of specific niches for enhanced agronomic performance of legume sole cropping and/or intercropping.

Comments
There are no comments yet. You can post the first one!
Post a comment
 
Please log in to use this service. Login as Wageningen University & Research user or guest user in upper right hand corner of this page.