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Productivity of yam-based systems with herbaceous legumes and short fallows in the Guinea-Sudan transition zone of Benin

Maliki R., Toukourou M., Sinsin B.A., Vernier P.. 2012. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 92 (1) : p. 9-19.

DOI: 10.1007/s10705-011-9468-7

The principal driving force in agricultural research is to increase the yield of food crops. For farming to remain productive, it will be necessary to replenish the nutrients removed or lost from the soil. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of yam-based systems on soil productivity (dry matter production, nutrients recycled or removed, profitability and soil fertility changes). We compared smallholders' traditional systems (1-year fallow of Andropogonon gayanus -yam rotation; maize-yam rotation) with yam-based systems with legumes (intercropped Aeschynomene histrix with maize-yam rotation; intercropped Mucuna pruriens with maize-yam rotation). The production of dry matter (tubers, shoots), nutrients removed or recycled, and soil properties were significantly improved on yam-based systems with legumes in comparison with traditional systems. Year × Treatment interactions influenced significantly the tuber dry matter production. Site × Treatment and Treatment × Farmer interactions affected significantly nutrients removed or recycled. The amount of nutrients recycled or removed was dependent on the dry matter production that, in turn, depended on soil fertility, rainfall and farmers' effect.Yam-based systems with legumes brought a higher present value than traditional systems in the first 4 years and appeared attractive for land, labour and cash productivities. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : système de culture; agroécosystème; petite exploitation agricole; rotation culturale; jachère; rendement; légumineuse fourragère; mucuna pruriens; aeschynomène; culture intercalaire; dioscorea rotundata; bénin

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