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Open AccessArticle

Nitrogen Fixation and Nutritional Yield of Cowpea-Amaranth Intercrop

Agricultural Research Council-Vegetable and Ornamental Plants, Private Bag X293, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Centre for Transformative Agricultural and Food Systems, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of South Africa, P O Box 392, Pretoria 0003, South Africa
Department of Crop Science, Njala University, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 565;
Received: 11 March 2020 / Revised: 1 April 2020 / Accepted: 10 April 2020 / Published: 15 April 2020
Nutrient-poor soils coupled with micronutrient deficiency among many rural resource-poor communities remain a challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. Nutrient-poor soils can be managed through various soil amendment or fertilisation strategies. Micronutrients can be supplied through plants. The study was aimed at determining the symbiotic nitrogen fixation of cowpea as well as the contribution of inter-cropping under varying levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) fertilisation. In addition, the amount of micronutrients supplied by cowpea and amaranth were determined. The experiment was laid out in a 2 × 4 factorial treatment structure in a completely randomised design, with inter-cropping (cowpea and amaranth) and fertiliser (control, 25%, 50%, and 100% of the recommended NPK levels) as treatment factors with four replications. Symbiotic N2 fixation of cowpea decreased from 341–448 kgN.ha−1 to 77–91 kgN.ha−1 for the first year and 557–227 kgN.ha−1 to 92−164 kgN.ha−1 for the second year with fertilisation. The iron and zinc nutritional yield increased (61–210 g.ha−1 for first year and 304–867 g.ha−1, for second year), proportional to fertiliser application to both crops. The research shows the benefits of leguminous crops in soil nutrient fertility and inorganic fertilisation with inter-cropping in managing micronutrient deficiency to meet the nutritional needs of rural communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: cowpea; amaranth; inter-cropping; N2 fixation; hidden hunger; nutritional yield cowpea; amaranth; inter-cropping; N2 fixation; hidden hunger; nutritional yield
MDPI and ACS Style

Mndzebele, B.; Ncube, B.; Nyathi, M.; Kanu, S.A.; Fessehazion, M.; Mabhaudhi, T.; Amoo, S.; Modi, A.T. Nitrogen Fixation and Nutritional Yield of Cowpea-Amaranth Intercrop. Agronomy 2020, 10, 565.

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