Experimental Agriculture

Research Article

Suppression of Striga hermonthica on Sorghum Using a Cowpea Intercrop

R. J. Carskya1 p1, L. Singha1 p2 and R. Ndikawaa1

a1 Institut de la Recherche Agronomique (IRA), BP 33, Maroua, Cameroon

Abstract

Intercropping with a spreading type of cowpea was studied as a technique for the control of Striga hermonthica on sorghum in northern Cameroon. Alternate rows of cowpea did not reduce Striga density but planting the cowpea and sorghum in the same row, in the same or alternating hills, reduced Striga density and numbers of Striga per sorghum stand. Yields of sorghum grain in the same-row planting treatments were not significantly less than sole sorghum yields, and 200 to 700 kg ha−1 of cowpea grain was produced. Alternating stands of sorghum and cowpea within the same row gave the best yield of sorghum and greater reduction of Striga. Production of mature Striga with capsules decreased with increasing cowpea ground cover, so that while cowpea may not reduce Striga emergence, it may hinder Striga development, possibly reducing the Striga seed bank over time.

(Accepted November 25 1993)

Correspondence:

p1 Present address: IITA, PMB 5320, Ibadan, Nigeria

p2 Present address: ATB University, PMB 0248, Bauchi, Nigeria.