Aim The aim of the study was to determine the effect of sowing density on ground cover and above ground biomass of fodder rape (Brassica napus .L.) and white mustard (Sinapis alba). Both crops were grown as cover crops with the purpose of conserving or restoring the productivity of the land through incorporation of the vegetative matter in the soil. Methods Field experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of sowing density on the ground cover and above ground biomass of fodder rape and white mustard. Fodder rape and white mustard were sown at four densities; 4, 8, 12, and 16 kg ha-1 for fodder rape and 7.5, 15, 22.5, and 30 kg ha-1 for white mustard. Result Total dry matter, plant number, and leaf area index (LAI) increased significantly with sowing density. Time to 50 % ground cover decreased with increasing sowing density (P<0.05). Fodder rape and white mustard cover crops differed (P<0.05) in amount of above ground biomass produced and time to provide adequate ground cover. Conclusion Overall, a positive effect of sowing density was observed on plant growth. White mustard had lesser time to 50 % ground cover and produced higher total dry matter than fodder rape. In order to obtain an optimal sowing density for both crops, further studies on higher densities, longer growth periods, and higher fertilizer rates are recommended.
Keywords: Sowing density, above ground biomass, ground cover, fodder rape, white mustard