A field trial was conducted to determine the effect of tillage and mulch practices on the biomass response of cereal maize and soybean, lablab and grazing vetch which are legumes, when planted as fodder crops. The experiment was conducted using split-plot design with three replications. The main plot treatments were two mulch levels (Mulch and No-Mulch). The mulch was maize straw left from previous cropping season. The subplot treatments were minimum tillage (0.2 m) and deep tillage (0.35 m). The parts of the four crops quantified were leaf, stem and roots. The combination of deep tillage and mulch practices resulted in significant (P<0.05) increase in the leaf, stem and root biomass of maize and, soybean, lablab and grazing vetch. Minimum tillage and no-mulch combined depressed (P<0.0.5) the leaf, stem and root yield of maize while, for soybean, lablab and grazing vetch there was no definite trend of significantly (P<0.05) depressed biomass for the leaf, stem and root yield under minimum tillage and no-mulch, and deep tillage and no-mulch. There was low correlation and positive significant relationship between leaf, stem and root and legume crops whereas, maize had a high correlation relationship with its biomass parameters. It is recommended that maize, soybean, lablab and grazing vetch can be grown as forage crops under combined deep tillage and mulch practices in the Foothills agro-ecological zone of Lesotho to obtain enhanced biomass.
Key words: Cereal, legume, leaf, stem root, forage.
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