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Assessment of a Climate-smart Cropping Combination for Integrated Crop and Livestock Production System

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Document pages: 8 pages

Abstract: Aims: To investigate sustainable climate-smart cropping combinations for integrated production of crops and livestock.Study Design: The mother baby trial design was used. The mother trial being an on-station experiment and the on-farm being baby trials. The experiment was arranged as a split plot design. The main plots were 3 types of soil amendments; cattle manure, fertilizer and a control. The subplots were eight (8) crop combinations, arising from velvet bean, cowpea, rhodes grass and ryegrass.Place and Duration of Study: The on-station field experiment was located at Liempe farm of the University of Zambia, in Chongwe district. The on-farm experiments were laid in Mazabuka and Chibombo districts of Zambia for two consecutive seasons, 2016 17 and 2017 18 cropping seasons.Methodology: The cropping combination responses were measured based on variable performance of maize test-crop. The ‘soil amendments type’ and ‘crop combination’ performance were evaluated using analysis of variance. Means were separated using Fisher protected Least Significant Difference (LSD) at α = 0.05. Principal component analysis (PCA), was also undertaken to further understand responses among crop combinations. Farmers reactions arising from experimental implementation was qualitatively analysed using content analysis.Results: Significant differences (P = .05) across cropping combinations on measured variables (for maize test crop) were exhibited among soil amendments type at an on-station trial during the 2017 18 season. Fertilizer soil amendment type was the best performer followed by manure and the control. Significant differences (P = .05) were also obtained among crop combinations across soil amendment type in all experimental sites. Crop combinations with velvet bean performed better than others. Qualitative grass inspection showed that rhodes grass was a better performer than rye grass.Conclusion: Maize grown in combination with legumes particularly velvet beans and rhodes grass are a viable option as a smallholder farming practice in a changing climate.

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