On station, farm studies were conducted in the eastern zone of Tigray to improve feed resource through integrating forage and cereal crops, to identify suitable and compatible lablab accessions for maize lablab intercropping under smallholder farmers, to demonstrate maize/lablab intercropping on farm, and to see farmer’s perception towards this technology. In the first study, eight lablab accessions were screened as monocrops adaptively, biomass and seed production. 1034, 912 and Dolichos lablab accessions were selected. Mean biomass production was estimated as 5.91, 7.12 and 8.31 DM (t/h) for 1034, 912 and Dolichos lablab accessions, respectively. These promising lablab accessions have wide adaptability and best compatible for intercropping. As follow up, 1034 and 912 lablab accessions were in farm trial, selected for intercropping with maize under irrigated lands to evaluate their contribution biomass production and adoptability. The selected legumes were row intercropped into maize and the average fresh biomass yield of maize was 18 kg under irrigated lands. The total average fresh biomass harvested from a single 10 X 10 m plot size was 18, 32 and 33 kg, for T1, T2 and T3, respectively. The mean change in total fresh biomass yield for lablab accession 912 and 1034 was 19.75 and 15.75 kg, respectively. Based on the field observation lablab accession #912 has performed best during the trial period. Hence, the total fresh biomass harvested from intercropped lablab accessions has increased up to 49% and higher in total fresh biomass harvested in sole maize plots. In general, the tendency for adoption of the forage legumes was higher as compared to other forage species.
Key words: Forage development, lablab intercropping, forage yield improvement.
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