Performance of Cowpea (Vigna Unguiculata L. Walp) Varieties Intercropped into Maize (Zea Mays L.) under Different Planting Patterns

Filed in Articles by on September 22, 2020

Performance of Cowpea (Vigna Unguiculata L. Walp) Varieties Intercropped into Maize (Zea Mays L.) under Different Planting Patterns.


Field trials were conducted at the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) farm, Samaru, Nigeria during 2005 and 2006 cropping seasons to study the performance of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp) varieties intercropped into maize (Zea mays L) under different planting patterns.

The treatments were laid out in a randomized complete block design in a split plot arrangement with three replications.

The planting pattern was assigned to the main plot while the variety was assigned to the sub-plot. The result indicated that most of the growth and yield parameters of maize were not significantly (P > 0.05) affected by cowpea varieties.

There were higher grain and pod yields from variety SAMPEA-2 while variety IAR-1035 produced the lowest pod yield.

Planting pattern affected both growth and yield components of cowpea significantly (P > 0.05) in both years, with the 1M: 4C: 1M alternate planting pattern having higher values compared with either 1M: 1C alternate or 1M: 1C mixed-row planting pattern.

In maize, the 1M: 1C mixed-row planting pattern produced significantly (P > 0.05) higher maize grain yield than the 1M: 4C:1M alternate and 1M: 1C alternate planting patterns by averages of 139.8 and 21.9% respectively.


1.1 Background of Study

Intercropping is the growing of two or more crops together on the same piece of land at the same time in a systematic manner such that the growth of some or all the component plant types overlap in space and time (Elemo et al., 1990).

The crops in the intercrop are not necessarily sown at exactly the same time and their harvest time may be quite different, but they are usually “simultaneous” for a significant part of their growing period.

According to a survey conducted in the former Zaria province of Nigeria more than three decades ago, it was found that about 82% of the land cultivated was under intercropping system (Norman, 1974). Similarly, Elemo et al.

(1990) observed intercropping as a common practice among traditional farmers of the Nigerian savanna. They indicated that no less than 60-70% of the cropped land is devoted to the growing of crops in mixture as opposed to sole cropping.

Some of the advantages derived from intercropping by peasant farmers include higher total yield than sole crops, even if yields of component crops are reduced (Elemo et al., 1990).

In spite of the predominance of intercropping among farmers in the Nigerian savannah, there was more emphasis on developing sole crop technologies because experimentation with mixtures is tedious to execute and evaluate as a result of the complexity of interaction of the component intercrops.


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Adetiloye,P.O. (1980). Growth, development and yield in sole and intercropped cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp) and maize (Zea mays L). Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria, 385pp.

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Anonymous (1978). Notes on the experimental cropping systems improvement programme, cropping scheme meeting. Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. 

Anonymous. (1985). Sole crop production package for the savanna: Legume and oilseeds research programme. Zaria, Nigeria: Institute for Agricultural Research, ,ABU Zaria.

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