Performance and Influence of Multipurpose Legumes And Their Residues on Maize in the Cold Semi-Arid Area Of Laikjpia District, Kenya

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Mwangi P.W
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Mwangi P.W
The challenge for increasing agricult ural prod uctivity in the cold semi -arid reg ion of Laikipia district is how to improve and maintain so il fertility despite the low incomes of the fanners. Integration of the appropriate legumes into the ex isting maize based farm ing system is one low cost alternative for improv ing soil fertility and food sec urity in the region. Studies were conducted at Matanya locati on in Lamuria divi sion of Laikipia di strct, Kenya for five seasons from 2006 long rains season to 2008 long rai ns season. The objectives were: (a). To identify " promi sing" multipurpose legumes for the cold semi-arid areas (b). To determine the influence of intercropping and nitrogen fe rtil izer on performance of "promising" multipurpose legumes and maize and (c). To determine the compos ition, decomposition rates, and influence of res idues of " promi sing" legumes on maize performance and so il nutrient status. The experiments were laid out in randomi zed complete block desi gn and replicated three times. In the first experiment, conducted in 2006 long rains season (April- September) and shon rains season (October 2006-March 2007), two va rieti es each of six legume species including butter bean (Phaseolus coccineus) (Ex -kasuku and Ex-miharati ). grass pea (Lathyrus salivus) (selection 132 1 and Se lec ti on 1325), soya bean (Glycine l/1ux) (TGX 1895-33F and TGX 1989-12F), garden pea (Pisum salivu/JI) (Oregon sugar and Green feast), hyac inth bean (Lublab pUlpureus) (Highworth and Ronga i) and lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus) (Bush henderson and Dixie) were tested for ag ronomic performance. One variety each of common bean (l'haseulus vulgaris) (Katumani 3330) and chickpea (Cieer arielinum) (Desi) were used as the loca l checks.