Yields of maize and sunflower in relation to sowing time and rainfall distribution under three cropping systems in a semi-arid region of Zimbabwe. (428)


  • E.Z. Nyakatawa Chiredzi Research Station, P.O. Box 97, Chiredzi, Zimbabwe
  • C.T. Nyati Zimbabwe Sugar Experiment Station, Post Bag 7006, Chiredzi, Zimbabwe


Intercropping, Land equivalent ratio, Maize, Sunflower, Rainfed, Relay cropping


A five-year study to assess and relate the performance of maize (Zea mays L.) and sunflower (Helianthus annus L.) in sole-, inter-, and relay-cropping systems to sowing time and rainfall distribution was done at Chiredzi Research Station in the south-east lowveld of Zimbabwe from 1986-87 to 1990-91. Sowing after the average sowing date of the area reduced maize seed yields in sole, inter, and relay cropping by 65.6, 37.6, and 74.9 kg day-1 , respectively. Maize seed yields in 1989-90 were respectively, 3.6, 2.1, and 2.3 t ha-1 in sole, inter, and relay cropping due to above-average rainfall at sowing (October to November) and flowering (January) times. Similar values for sunflower in the same year were 0.9, 0.4, and 0.1 t ha-1, respectively. Relay cropping maize and sunflower at 11 000 plants ha-1 of each crop was the best cropping system in terms of combined seed yields, land equivalent ratios, and total cash income of both crops over the five years of the study.



Research Papers