Effects of inter-cropping lablab (Lablab purpureus) with selected sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) varieties on plant morphology, sorghum grain yield, forage yield and quality in Kalu District, South Wollo, Ethiopia

Rahel Kahsay, Yeshambelm Ekuriaw, Bimrew Asmare


An experiment was conducted to determine effects of inter-cropping lablab (Lablab purpureus) with 3 selected early-maturing sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) varieties (Teshale, Girana-1 and Misikir) on plant morphology, sorghum grain and forage yield and quality plus yield and quality of lablab forage, and to assess farmers’ perceptions of the crops in Kalu District, South Wollo, Ethiopia. Seven treatments, namely: T1 - sole lablab (SL); T2 - Teshale + lablab (TL); T3 - Girana-1 + lablab (GL); T4 - Misikir + lablab (ML); T5 - sole Teshale (ST); T6 - sole Girana-1 (SG); and T7 - sole Misikir (SM), were used with 3 replications in a randomized complete block design. The data collected from sorghum varieties were: plant height, number of leaves per plant, leaf area, dry biomass yield and grain yield; and for lablab was: plant height, number of leaves per plant, leaf area, number of branches per plant, number of nodules per plant and dry biomass yield. Grain yield was determined on sorghum at maturity, while lablab was harvested at 50% flowering. Inter-cropped Girana-1 produced yields of both grain and stover and lablab forage similar to those for pure stands of the 2 crops, while inter-cropping of Teshale and Misikir with lablab reduced height, grain and stover yields of sorghum and yields of lablab forage (P<0.05). However, crude protein concentration in sorghum stover was enhanced when grown as an inter-crop with lablab (P<0.05). Land equivalent ratios for inter-crop treatments were 54‒87% higher than those for pure stands. Farmers readily identified the combination Girana-1 + lablab as superior to the other associations. While farmers can improve productivity of their farms by inter-cropping these sorghum varieties, preferably Girana-1, with lablab, more studies should be conducted to determine benefits from sowing other legumes with sorghum. Any improvements in soil N levels from planting the legumes should be quantified.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17138/tgft(9)216-224


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