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Effects Of Different Legumes On The Growth And Grain Yield Of Amaranth In Kitui County, Kenya

Volume 2 - Issue 7, July 2018 Edition
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Author(s)
James Gitonga, Ellis Njoka, David Mushimiyimana
Keywords
Grain amaranth, harvest index, intercropping, legumes.
Abstract
Amaranth is an important crop owing to its highly nutritious grains and leaves. The grains are rich in proteins and leaves have high calcium and vitamins levels. Amaranth flour is used to fortify other flours due to its high digestible proteins. Some medicinal properties and industrial use have also been associated with amaranth grains and leaves. Common beans, green grams and cowpeas are important sources of plant proteins. This makes them valuable and cheap substitute for meat and other animal proteins. In this study, common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) KB9, green gram (Vigna radiata) N-26 and cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata) M66 were intercropped with amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus), KAM 01 to establish and compare their effects on the growth and grain yields of amaranth. Pure stands of the three legumes and the amaranth were also established for comparison purposes. The study was carried out in March- May 2017 rainy season. Treatment combinations were tested in a randomized complete block design (RCBD); with four replicates. Analysis of variance was carried out and treatment means were differentiated at 95% confidence level (P<0.05).Post-hoc tests were carried out using Fishers’ Least Significant Difference (LSD). This study found that intercropping amaranth with common beans, green grams and cowpeas had a significant effect (P<0.05) on grain yields and above ground biomass. Grain yields were highest (1,741 kg/ha) when amaranth was intercropped with green grams and least (1,088 kg/ha) in the amaranth-common beans intercrop. Green grams intercrop gave the highest (4,159 kgs/ha) above ground biomass and common beans intercrop giving the least (2,241 kgs/ha). Common bean intercrop had the highest (0.37) harvest index followed by green gram intercrop (0.34) with cowpeas intercrop giving a harvest index of 0.29. It was concluded that legume intercropping with amaranth was better than sole cropping and that green gram was the most appropriate legume for intercropping with amaranth in Kitui central sub county. It was therefore recommended for use by farmers.
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