The Performance Of Oil Palm And Different Food Crop Combinations In A Four- Year Sequential Intercropping In A Rain Forest/Derived Savanna Transitional Zone Of Nigeria
The experiment was carried out between 1996 and 2004 to determine the productivity and economic returns to the resource base of farmers practicing different oil palm/food crop intercropping in an intensive four-year sequential cropping using the standard oil palm density. Oil palm was intercropped for four years, 1996-1999; and oil palm yield was monitored for the subsequent four years, 2001-2004. Results showed that the different crop combinations did not have any significant difference (P< 0.05) on oil palm growth, number of bunches and fresh fruit bunch yields over the periods. Also the four different crop combinations and planting sequence gave positive net revenue, showing that intensive intercropping during the first four years was beneficial to the farmer. However the Oil Palm/Yam/Cassava/Maize/; Melon combination, planted in sequence, gave the highest net revenue. While Cocoyam/Maize/Telfairia/Cowpea/Melon gave the least. Telfaira and grain legumes suffered partial or total crop failure which tended to reduce revenue; the former due to the over shading effect of cocoyam canopy in the cocoyam based system, and the latter due to damage to leaves and flowers by insect pest complex, thereby resulting in very low pod and grain yields.
Keywords: Oil palm, food crop combinations, sequential intercropping, savannah
Journal of Agriculture, Forestry and the Social Sciences Vol. 4 (2) 2006: pp. 178-189