Acta Scientific Agriculture (ASAG)(ISSN: 2581-365X)

Research Article Volume 5 Issue 6

N2 Fixation of Grain Legumes Leading to Beneficial Effect on the Succeeding Maize Crop

David Lengwati*

Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land Administration and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA), South Africa

*Corresponding Author: David Lengwati, Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land Administration and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA), South Africa.

Received: April 20, 2021; Published: May 25, 2021

Abstract

  In large parts of sub-Saharan Africa, smallholder yields have remained low and declining, and food security is very low. The decline in yield is due to the loss of soil organic matter (SOM), as farmers generally collect all plant matter as animal feed or cooking fuel. Other factors include unavailability of arable land, inherently low soil fertility, insect pests and diseases, and climate change. In addition to wind and water erosion, much of the land degradation is caused by overgrazing, deforestation and intensive cropping. According to researchers, fertilizer use in Sub-Saharan Africa is low (NPK at 8.8 kg). This situation is similar in South Africa. For millennia, humans have utilized legumes as a source of food, animal fodder, traditional medicine, shelter, fuel etc. Legumes such as Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.), have that special ability to meet more than half of their N requirements through the biological nitrogen fixing-process.

  This is achieved through the symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-bacteria. Legumes species cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.), blackgram (Vigna mungo L.) and mung beans/green gram (Vigna radiata L.), are known to contribute significant amounts of fixed nitrogen to the cropping systems thereby benefiting subsequent non-legume crops or crops grown in rotation with them. They therefore have the potential to promote and sustain agricultural productivity in the low-input farming systems of Sub-Saharan Africa.

  Legumes are commonly grown by smallholder farmers in production systems such as sole cropping, Intercropping and rotational cropping. Crop rotation with legumes contributes nitrogen to the soil through mineralization of the legume residues. As a result, crop rotation with legumes is reported to reduce the rate of N applied to succeeding maize (Zea mays L.) crops. But more importantly, organic matter (SOM) build-up from crop rotation is crucial for sustainable production as organic matter (SOM) is the life of soil, improving soil structure and texture.

  The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of legume rotation in enhancing productivity and profitability of smallholder cropping systems and alleviate household food and nutritional insecurity.

Keywords: Vigna unguiculata; Vigna mungo; Maize; NdfN2

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Citation

Citation: David Lengwati. “N2 Fixation of Grain Legumes Leading to Beneficial Effect on the Succeeding Maize Crop". Acta Scientific Agriculture 5.6 (2021): 69-83.




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