Chickpea is a major legume grown in Kenya. The agronomic performance, nodulation ability and grain crude protein are not fully exploited. Field experiments were conducted at Embu, Kenya to determine the effect of plant spacing and N-fertilizer rates on nodulation and protein content of selected chickpea varieties. A split-split plot design was used and replicated three times. Treatments consisted of main factor, variety in four levels (Saina K, Mwanza 2, Chania I, Chania III), sub factor, spacing in three levels (S1: 50 x 10; S2: 50 x 20; S3: 50 x 30 cm), and sub-sub factor, nitrogen fertilizer rates in four levels of (0; 30; 60; 90 kg ha-1). Data on nodulation and CP was subjected to GLM. Spacing and N-fertilizer rates significantly affected nodule numbers, fresh weight and their sizes. Mwanza 2 x 50x10 cm x N30 posted highest nodule numbers while Chania III had highest protein content. Interactions of VS, VN, SN and VSN had no consistent pattern under nodule factors but were highly significant in percent CP. Hence, optimal interactive effects of VSN can improve nodulation factors and CP of chickpea. The information will help growers make informed decisions, and researchers in developing improved varieties.
Key words: Chickpea, variety, spacing, N-fertilizer, nodulation, crude protein
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