Response of maize and cucumber intercrop to soil moisture control through irrigation and mulching during the dry season in Nigeria
AbstractReplicate field plots were used in experiments aimed at evaluating the yield potentials of maize and cucumber intercrop resulting from the control of soil moisture through irrigation and mulching, for a
period of eleven weeks. Three irrigation depths, 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5 mm; and two mulch levels, zero mulch and 10 ton/ha of oil palm bunch refuse as mulch material were employed, while the third option involved the combination of the different levels of irrigation and mulching. These were used alongside fertilizer application. The pertinent growth and yield parameters were then determined. Results of the analysis indicated that there were no significant differences in growth parameters such as plant
height, vine length and days to 50% flowering across the treatment variants. Yield components such as total grain yield, total fresh cob yield and total fruit yield differed greatly across the treatment
options and also indicated significance at the 1% probability level. It was observed that cucumber total fruit yield was greater in the plots that received only mulching than the other plots. The results of
the study highlight the position that the best crop yields would be obtained for maize and cucumber intercrop during the dry season, if farmers resort to optimum application levels while using the
synergy of irrigation and mulching to achieve a crop favorable soil moisture regime.