An agronomic evaluation of potato/maize and potato/beans intercrops
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The yields of a potato/maize and potato/bean intercrops, in which the maize and bean planting patterns were modified, were evaluated in the short and long rainy seasons of 1984-85 respectively. The study included two potato clones, CIP 720084, an advanced clone from the International Potato Centre (CIP) and variety B53, a commercial variety in Kenya. Land equivalent ratio (LER) was used to assess the efficiency of land use in these intercrops. In the short rafuy season, CIP 720084/maize intercrop gave the highest LER of 1.34 whereas B53/maize intercrop gave the lowest LER of 1.06. However, though the season was generally dry it was evident that intercropping was more efficient in land use than sole cropping, by a minimum of 6~. The study also showed that in this season CIP 720084 combined better with maize than beans, whereas B53 combined better with beans than maize. In the long rainy season of 1985, the land equivalent ratios were much higher than in the short rainy season, suggesting that there was a better use of environmental factors. In this season CIP 720084/ maize intercrop achieved the highest LER value of 1.92 while B53/maize intercrop achieved an LER value of 1.80. eIP 720084/bean and B53/bean intercrops achieved LER values of 1.77 and 1.59 respectively. This showed that both potato clones were better adapted to intercropping with maize than beans. Modifying the planting pattern of maize or beans into one, two or three per hill but spacing them widely had no apparent effects on intercrops final yields. However, in potato/maize intercrops, earthing potato plants was easier where the maize plants were planted two arid three per hill.