Oil palm growth, yield and financial returns from interplanted food crops
AbstractMaize, soyabean and pigeon pea were inter-planted with a juvenile oil palm plantation in 1999-2002 at the Teaching and Research Farm of the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (7°15'N, 3°25', altitude 144m above sea level) to evaluate the growth of the interplanted oil palm as well as yield and overall economic returns from the inter-planted food crops. The treatments were: oil palm/maize/soyabean/pigeon pea, oil palm/maize/pigeon pea, oil palm/maize/soyabean and oil palm/maize grown with or without 125kg ha-I of a compound fertilizer N: P: K (20:10:10). Intercropping of oil palm with food crops had no significant effect on the plant height and canopy width of the oil palm, but significantly (p<0.05) enhanced the number of leaves produced. Maize grain yield was significantly (p<0.05) increased by pigeon pea with or without fertilizer application. All fertilized maize produced significantly (p<0.05) higher grain yield relative to unfertilized plots. Soyabean grain yield was reduced in association with pigeon pea. Pigeon pea grain yield was low (less than 100 Kg/ha). All the mixtures showed negative net revenues at the end of the intercropping period (3 years) due to loss of maize to pest in the second year. Intercropping of oil palm with food crops in the early years of establishment had no depressive effect on the growth of the oil palm. It is suggested that maize, soyabean and pigeon pea can be intercropped with oil palm for high monetary returns, which can be used to offset part of the establishment and maintenance cost prior to fruit production.
Keywords: intercropping, food crops, maize, oil palm, pigeon pea, soybean
Moor Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 5(1) 2004: 41-48