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Effect of crop diversification and mulching on termite damage to maize in western Ethiopia

Demissie, Girma, Mendesil, Esayas, Diro, Debela, Tefera, Tadele
Crop protection 2019
Desmodium intortum, Glycine max, Microtermes, Zea mays, animal manures, biotic factors, continuous cropping, corn, corn stover, diazinon, farms, grain yield, intercropping, mulching, sires, soybeans, wood ash, Ethiopia
Termites are major biotic factors that contribute to crop damage and yield losses to maize (Zea mays L.) in western Ethiopia. This study evaluated mulching maize stover, intercropping maize with soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) and desmodium (Desmodium intortum (Mill.) Urb.), and integration of mulching and intercropping for their effectiveness in reducing damage of Microtermes spp mainly Microtermes vadschaggae Sjostedt and Microtermes adschaggae (Sjosted) to maize. Five termite management treatments and a control (sole maize) were arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replicates on 2 farm sites in 2016 and 7 sites in 2017 cropping seasons in Sibu Sire and Gudeya Billa. Results indicated that application of maize stover as mulch combined with animal manure, maize-soybean intercrops and wood ash, maize-desmodium intercrops, and mulching combined with maize-soybean intercrops consistently reduced termite damage to maize in both cropping seasons. These results were comparable to application of Diazinon 60% EC (standard check). In addition, intercropping maize with desmodium, mulching + intercropping maize with soybean, and Diazinon 60% EC reduced the number of lodged plants per plot compared to control. Maize grain yield in treated plots was significantly higher than maize monocrop control. In order to reduce termite damage and to enhance maize productivity, mulching using maize stover, and intercropping of maize with soybean or desmodium can be used in termite prone areas of western Ethiopia and other countries in Africa with similar agroecologies.