Corn and Legumes: Joint Cultivation

Growing pulse (legume) among corn is one of the relatively new ways of crop rotation and corn yield stabilization technique. Such results were received during 12 years of research in Zambia and Malawi.

Researches from the Kenya World Agroforestry Centre and South African Pretorian University released results of their research in long run yield trend of legumes on the south of Africa.

Corn is the main crop in this region. It is growing on the half of cultivated land in this region according to the Agronomy Magazine Journal.

But such factors as jeopardized population growth, exhausted cultivated land and changing climate negatively influence corn yields and harvest. Joint cultivation (cultivation of two or more crops on the same land simultaneously or in the in immediate proximity to each other) increase corn harvest. Researches tested nature of the effect and its long rung effect in the ecosystems with natural irrigation system.

Researches cultivated legume on three fields without irrigation – one field on the South of Malawi and two on the East of Zambia. Yield from the fields with joint cultivation were compared to the corn yields from the fields where corn was cultivated stand along separately for each particular field.

“We found that corn yield on the fields that were jointly cultivated was on average 50% higher compared to monocrop fields. Yields on jointly cultivated fields were more stable compared to other fields”, – told Gudeta Sileshi, leading researcher.

According to the researchers legumes absorb nitrogen from the air and transforms it to the element necessary to the corn growth, decreasing at the same time the required level of nitrogen fertilizers. Legumes leafs are additional source of organic that increase soil productivity and makes it more stable.

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