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Effects of Intra-Row Spacing of Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) and Frequency of Weeding on Yields of Maize-Sesame Intercrop in Makurdi, Nigeria

Effects of Intra-Row Spacing of Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) and Frequency of Weeding on Yields of Maize-Sesame Intercrop in Makurdi, Nigeria

International Letters of Natural Sciences 38: 16-26

ISSN/ISBN: 2300-9675

Field experiments were conducted from July to October, during 2012 and 2013 cropping seasons, at the Research Farm, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria, to evaluate the effects of intra-row spacing of sesame and frequency of weeding on yields of maize-sesame intercrop. The trial was a 3 x 3 factorial experiment fitted in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Nine of the treatments consisted of intercropped maize with sesame sown at the intra-row spacing of 10 cm, 15 cm and 20 cm, and at the varied weeding frequencies: maize-sesame intercrop sown on plots weeded once (1x) at 3 weeks after planting (WAP); maize-sesame intercrop sown on plots weeded twice (2x) at 3 and 6 WAP; maize-sesame intercrop sown on plots not weeded (NW). Sole sesame and sole maize respectively sown at their recommended intra-row spacing of 10 cm and 30 cm and at their recommended frequency of weeding (2x at 3 and 6 WAP) constituted the tenth and eleventh treatments, which also served as control plots. The results obtained showed that in a maize-sesame intercrop, increasing intra-row spacing of sesame up to 20 cm, on plots weeded 2x at 3 and 6 WAP, significantly (P <= 0.05) produced the highest intercrop yields of maize and sesame. This level of treatment not only recorded the lowest competitive pressure, but gave the highest total intercrop yields, highest land equivalent coefficient values (1.01 and 1.13 respectively, in years 2012 and 2013), indicating the highest yield advantage, and highest land equivalent ratio (LER) values of 2.11 and 2.25 respectively recorded for years 2012 and 2013. With these LER values, 52.6 % and 55.6 % of land were respectively saved in years 2012 and 2013, which could be used for other agricultural purposes. The implication of study showed that, to maximize intercrop yields of maize and sesame in a maize-sesame intercrop, the appropriate intra-row spacing for sesame is 20 cm, while the optimal frequency of weeding is 2x at 3 and 6 WAP. This should therefore, be recommended for Makurdi location, Nigeria.

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