In central highlands of Kenya, the low soil fertility and inability to replenish it are amongst the major constraints affecting the productivity of maize and cash crops, leading to hunger and poverty. The adoption of ISFM technologies such as maize-soybean intercropping system is being promoted as one of the options to address low crop productivity among the farmers. This study intended to determine the effects of maize-soybean intercropping patterns on yields and to quantify the land equivalent ratio (LER) of different maize–soybean intercropping patterns in the two contrasting sites. The experiment was arranged in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with four replications. The treatments were four maize (M) – soybean (S) intercropping patterns (conventional=1M:1S; MBILI-MBILI=2M:2S; 2M:4S; 2M:6S) and two sole crops of maize and soybean, respectively. The results showed that in both sites during the both seasons maize stover and grain yields were significantly affected by the intercropping pattern. During 2012 LR at Embu site the MBILI treatment produced significantly higher stover and grain yields (13.12 t ha-1, p=0.0001 and 6.11 t ha-1, p<0.0001, respectively) than all other treatments. During 2012 SR, still the MBILI treatment had recorded significantly the highest stover and grain yield (7.62 t ha-1, p<0.0001 and 5.62 t ha-1 p=0.0467, respectively) than all other treatments. During 2012 LR at Kamujine site the conventional treatment produced significantly the highest stover yield (3.87 t ha-1, p=0.0461) than only the 2M:6S treatment. During 2012 SR at Kamujine site, the MBILI treatment had recorded significantly the highest stover and grain yield (6.55 t ha-1, p=0.0005 and 3.55 t ha-1 p=0.0006, respectively) than all other treatments. During both seasons in both sites, the soybean yield was significantly affected by the intercropping pattern. During the 2012 LR, the yields were reduced by 60 and 81% due to the intercropping with maize, at Embu and Kamujine, respectively; whereas, during the 2012 SR, the yields were reduced by 52 and 78% as effect of intercropping with maize, at Embu and Kamujine, respectively. During both seasons at both locations, the partial land equivalent ratio (LER) values were significantly affected by the intercropping patterns (p<0.0001).
Key words: Maize-soybean yields, land equivalent ratio, intercropping patterns, central highlands, Kenya.
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