Productivity of pigeon pea and maize rotation system in Balaka District, Southern Malawi

Kabambe, V H and Ngwira, A R and Aune, J B and Sitaula, B K and Chilongo, T (2018) Productivity of pigeon pea and maize rotation system in Balaka District, Southern Malawi. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 13 (43). pp. 2392-2398. ISSN 1991-637X

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In Malawi, some parts of the country, such as Balaka District in Southern Malawi, are particularly prone to erratic rains with poor soil productivity. In the 2015/2016 rainy season some learning centres (LCs) focusing on pigeon-pea (Cajanus cajan) – maize (Zea mays L) rotations were established in four sections of Ulongwe Agriculture Extension Planning Area (EPA) in Balaka District to enhance soil fertility, nutrition and income diversification for increased resilience to production under erratic rain condition. Up to 132 plots of pigeon were established in 2005/2016 season. Of these 44 fields were sampled for yield, biomass, plant stand and 32 sites for soil data. In the second season of 2016/17, a maize fertilizer response trial with five rates of NPKS (0, 23:21:0+4S, 46:21:0+4S, 69:21:0+4S, and 92:21:0+4S) was super-imposed in the 44 fields, where farmers incorporated pigeon pea residues, a parallel study conducted in a nearby, adjacent field. In the first season, rainfall was low and erratic. Three dry spells (>10 non-rainy days) were recorded in two of four rain gauge stations, and two dry spells in one station. The soil test results showed low P, K and N status. Pigeon pea plant stand was low, with an average of 2.22 plants m-2 compared to an expected 4.44 plants m-2. Grain yields and stover weights were quite variable with a mean of 442 and 1698 kg/ha, respectively. In the second season maize yields grown in both old pigeon pea or continuous maize plots gave a linear response to fertilizer. The gains from pigeon rotation averaged 620, 308, 496 and -1072 for Chibwana Nsamala, Hindahinda, Mulambe and Chitseko sections respectively. The highest recorded yield was 4049 kg/ha from Hindahinda.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : East & Southern Africa
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pigeon pea, Cajanus cajan, green manures, maize response to nitrogen
Subjects: Mandate crops > Pigeonpea
Others > Maize
Others > African Agriculture
Others > Malawi
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2018 04:43
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2018 04:43
Official URL:
Funders: Norwegian Government
Acknowledgement: The authors thank the Norwegian Government for funding this work through the Capacity Building for Managing Climate Change program at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Malawi. The staff and farmers of Balaka District Agriculture Office and Ulongwe Extension Planning Area are appreciated for their collaboration in this project.
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