Stem portion and number of stakes influence on growth and yield of cassava variety in the South East, Nigeria
Investigations were conducted to study the effect of stem portion and number of stakes per stand on crop establishment, growth and yield of cassava variety NR 8082 in Umudike Southeastern Nigeria during the 2016/17 and 2017/18 cropping seasons. In each year, the experiment was laid out as a 3 × 3 factorial, in randomized complete block design with three replications. Treatments consisted of three stem portions of different physiological ages (top, middle and basal) and three numbers of stakes per stand (1, 2 and 3). The middle and basal stem portions significantly increased percent establishment, plant height and leaf area index at 3 months after planting (MAP) but had no effect on number of storage roots per plant. The best stem portion for storage root yield was, however, the top portion which produced the highest yield on average. Number of stakes per stand did not significantly affect stem girth, number of nodes per plant and leaf area index, but the use of 1 stake per stand increased number of storage roots per plant, root weight and storage oot yield in 2017/2018 cropping season. Number of stakes per stand did not significantly influence storage root yield across the two seasons of evaluation. Interactions between stem portion and number of stakes per stand did not significantly affect storage root yield of NR 8082 high cassava variety in both cropping seasons. Based on the findings, the use of 1 stake per stand is recommended for high root yields of NR 8082 cassava variety under conditions of low soil fertility in Umudike, South East Nigeria. Although the top portion enhanced root yield, farmers could use any of the stem portions, since the middle and basal parts gave satisfactory yields and had better establishment than the former.