An Assessment of Intercropping and Fertilization in Cassava - (Manihot esculenta) Based Systems in the Kolli Hills, South India

  • Author / Creator
    Harms, Tina
  • There is much interest in reducing risk, increasing yield and maintaining soil fertility and biodiversity in agriculture. The effects of intercropping cassava (M. esculenta crantz) with beans (Phaseolus spp), millet (E. coracana) or a bean-millet mixture with the use of various soil amendment treatments; manure, manure and synthetic fertilizer, synthetic fertilizer or mulch under a rainfed cropping system were investigated over a two year period in Kolli Hills, South India. Physical and chemical properties of soil, bean protein content, cassava leaf nutrients and starch content, and marginal rates of return were assessed. Results varied greatly across sites and seasons. Intercropping with millets significantly reduced crop yields in Mathyriolovo and Oleyur; mean yields in year one and two were higher when synthetic fertilizer and a combination of fertilizer and manure were applied; during year two, the greatest yield increase resulted from mulching. Intercropping with millets had both negative and positive impacts on soil: lowering available N, and exchangeable Mn, while showing increases in available P in various sites. When bean with millets were intercropped with cassava, there were significant increases in soil exchangeable Na, available P, EC, Cu and exchangeable K in comparison to other treatments. Manure resulted in a significant increase in soil pH, and a decrease in Zn; the addition of synthetic fertilizer resulted in an increase in soil EC in various sites. Results of principal component analysis (PCA) showed that soil Zn, clay content, CEC, Cu, pH and available K accounted for the greatest amount of variation in samples and the resultant soil quality index (SQI) for cassava production in the Kolli Hills. Economic analysis highlighted the great variation between site and seasons; fertilizer and manure plus fertilizer intercropped with millets or bean and millets having the highest marginal rate of return in year one, while sole cropping of cassava under a mulch treatment provided a positive return in year two. Based on soil properties, crop qualities and economics cassava based cropping systems may be improved by various intercropping systems and soil amendments; however, the great variation in soil, climate, availability of inputs and the needs of the smallholder farmer need to be considered prior to forming overall management recommendations.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Renewable Resources
  • Specialization
    • Soil Science
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Dyck, Miles (Renewable Resources)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Hernandez Ramirez, Guillermo (Renewable Resources)
    • MacKenzie, Derek (Renewable Resources)