Deforestation and soil nutrient degradation are common outcomes of traditional yam-based cropping systems (shifting cultivation, slash-and-burn, and short fallow). The aim of this research was to see how yam-based systems with herbaceous legumes affected dry matter (DM) production (tubers, shoots), nutrient removal and recycling, and soil fertility changes. Traditional smallholder systems (1-year fallow of Andropogon gayanus-yam rotation, maize-yam rotation) were compared to yam-based systems with herbaceous legumes (Aeschynomene histrix/maize intercropping-yam rotation, Mucuna pruriens/maize intercropping-yam rotation). The experiment was performed with 32 farmers, eight in each location, during the cropping seasons of 2002 and 2004. A partial nested model with five factors: Year, Replication, Farmer, Site, and Treatment was used to conduct a randomised full block design with four treatments and four replicates for each of them. Dry matter (DM) output (tubers, shoots), nutrient contribution to the systems, and soil properties were studied using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the general linear model (GLM) procedure at depths of 0–10 and 10–20 cm. In contrast to conventional systems, yam-based systems with legumes greatly improved DM removal and recycling, complete N, P, and K recycling or removal, and soil chemical properties (SOM, N, P, K, and pH water). Interactions between treatment, farmer, and year treatment affected yam tuber dry matter development significantly. In yam-based systems with legumes, the amounts of N, P, and K recycled in the yam shoot were substantially higher than in conventional systems.

Author (s) Details

Raphiou Maliki
Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du Benin´ (INRAB), P.O.Box 2128, Calavi, Benin

Brice Sinsin
Faculte´ des Sciences Agronomiques de l’Universite´ d’Abomey-Calavi (FSA/UAC), P.O. Box 01-526, Cotonou, Benin

Anne Floquet
Centre Beninois´ pour l’Environnement et le Developpement´ Economique et Social (CEBEDES), P.O.Box 02-331, Cotonou, Benin

Denis Cornet
Centre de Cooperation´ Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement´ (CIRAD), 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France

Eric Malezieux
Centre de Cooperation´ Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement´ (CIRAD), UPR Hortsys, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France

Philippe Vernier
Centre de Cooperation´ Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement´ (CIRAD), 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France

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