Title : Effects of wheat-faba bean intercropping on yield, land-use efficiency and economic revenue in semi-arid areas
In semi-arid areas, intercropping is perceived as a practice that compares favourably to sole cropping and that may contribute to maximize crop yield. Accordingly, intercropping of faba bean and wheat are commonly practiced by farmers in semi-arid areas. Yet there is limited information on their full ecological and economic benefits. This study aimed at addressing this knowledge gap. It was conducted in two consecutive years at Mekelle Agricultural Research Centre, northern Ethiopia. The emphasis was on the analysis of the effects of faba bean intercrops with wheat varieties at different seed rates on grain yield, economic revenue and land-use efficiency. The study considered three wheat varieties (Shehan, HAR 2501 and Mekelle 01) at three different seed rates (25, 50 and 75%) of the recommended sole wheat rate (150 kg ha-1). These were intercropped with full faba bean (250,000 plants ha-1). Sole cropping of each wheat variety and faba bean was used as control. Results highlighted that the intercrops had significantly higher total yield, economic revenue and land equivalent ratio (LER) compared to the sole crops. Faba bean intercropped with the wheat HAR 2501 variety at 75% seed rate increased the total yield and the economic revenue by 39 and 17%, respectively, over sole faba bean, and the LER by 50% over the sole crops. Results thus suggest that intercropping of faba bean and wheat may be a sustainable farming option as compared to the sole crops. It may also contribute to improve crop yield and land-use productivity thereby enhancing the livelihood in semi-arid areas.
Keywords: Crop productivity, Ethiopia, Land equivalent ratio, Seed rates, Triticum aestivum L., Vicia faba L., Wheat variety