An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of conservation tillage (CT) practices on leaf chlorophyll content, sugars and yields of Zea mays L. and Phaseolus vulgaris L. for two consecutive cropping seasons at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization farm in Embu County, Kenya. The experimental design was a Randomized Complete Block Design with 9 treatments replicated 3 times. The treatments were, conventional tillage sole maize, zero tillage sole maize, Furrows/Ridges sole maize, conventional tillage sole bean, zero tillage sole bean, furrows and ridges sole bean, conventional tillage maize-bean intercrop, zero tillage maize-bean intercrop, furrows/ridges maize-bean intercrop. Zea mays L. and Phaseolus vulgaris L. plants grown under the CT plots had significantly more chlorophyll content, more sugar content and more grain weight than those under conventional tillage practices (CVT). The results provided a physiological basis for the observed increase in yields. They led to a conclusion that the CT method is suitable for improving crop productivity through enhancing physiological functions in the leaf.
Key words: Conservation tillage, chlorophyll, grain weigh.
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