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Weed control by two cover crops Neonotonia wightii and Centrosema pascuorum in banana plantations-impact on nitrogen competition and banana productivity

Achard R., Fevrier A., Estrade J.R.. 2018. In : Van den Bergh Inge (ed.), Risède Jean-Michel (ed.), Johnson Vincent (ed.). Proceedings of the X International Symposium on Banana: ISHS-ProMusa Symposium on Agroecological Approaches to Promote Innovative Banana Production Systems. Louvain : ISHS, p. 87-94. (Acta Horticulturae, 1196). International Symposium on Banana: ISHS-ProMusa Symposium on Agroecological Approaches to Promote Innovative Banana Production Systems. 10, 2016-10-10/2016-10-14, Montpellier (France).

DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1196.10

Intercropping bananas with cover crops is a promising alternative to chemical weed control. In this study, we evaluated two legume species Neonotonia wightii (NW) and Centrosema pascuorum (CP) for their weed control ability in a banana plantation. The impact of these living covers on soil nitrogen content and on banana productivity was also evaluated in comparison to a spontaneous weed cover (SP) and to a chemical weed control (CWC). For the three treatments with a living cover, a grass-specific herbicide was applied at 60 days after planting, and mowing was performed at 120 days after planting. At crop emergence, NW and CP showed similar above-ground biomass per plant; thereafter the higher biomass growth rate of CP resulted in a higher covering ability. At 90 days after planting, CP had a biomass of 6 t ha-1 dry matter (DM), and resulted in a 55% weed biomass reduction in comparison to SP. CP growth declined after this stage, and there was no regrowth after mowing. NW produced only 1 t ha-1 DM at 90 days after planting and provided no weed control at this stage. NW showed a good regrowth 240 days after planting, after the mowing provided a 60% reduction of weed biomass in comparison to SP. Nevertheless, NW and CP did not reduce the global nitrogen uptake of the cover in comparison to SP, and demonstrated a negative effect similar to that of SP on soil mineral nitrogen content compared to ewe. Both cover crops reduced the banana leaf emission rate and pseudostem girth by 24% in comparison to CWC at 131 days after planting. NW and CP did not impact the bunch weight but delayed the flowering date by 5 weeks, in comparison to CWC, which corresponded to 10% of loss in the crop productivity per year.

Mots-clés : musa; mauvaise herbe; lutte biologique; compétition végétale; plante d'ombrage; biomasse; agroécosystème; antilles françaises

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