Evaluation of physiological changes in coffee seedlings intercropped with maize, cassava and plantain in Nigeria
AbstractField experiments were carried out at three locations with different vegetation in Nigeria between 1996 and 1998 to determine the physiological changes in coffee intercropped with maize, cassava and plantain. There were four intercropping treatments comprising coffee/maize, coffee/cassava, coffee/plantain and coffee/maize/cassava/plantain while coffee sole was used as the control. Spacing of 3.1m was used for coffee and plantain, 1m apart for cassava while it was 0.75m [inter row] and 0.30m [intra row] apart for maize. The treatments were replicated four times under randomized complete block design. Data were collected at 3-monthly intervals for 36 months on net assimilation rate [NAR], leaf area ratio [LAR] and relative growth rate [RGR]. Land equivalent ratio (LER) of the trial was also determined. Result showed that NAR decreased as coffee seedlings aged and coffee/plantain gave the highest value while coffee/cassava showed the least NAR value. Same trend above was recorded for the LAR values. Coffee sole had the least RGR value and it was highest in coffee/plantain. This indicates that intercropping coffee with plantain will improve its physiological growth than when grown as sole crop. The land equivalent ratio was recorded for coffee/plantain intercrop in all the locations. Consequently, coffee/plantain intercrop is recommended for coffee farmers in the first three years after transplanting to the field.
Key words: Physiological changes; coffee seedlings; intercropped
Moor Journal of Agricultural Research Vol.4(2) 2003: 218-224