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Termite-Induced Injuries to Maize and Baby Corn under Organic and Conventional Farming Systems in the Central Highlands of Kenya

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International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Nairobi P.O. Box 30772-00100, Kenya
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Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Nairobi P.O. Box 57811-00200, Kenya
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Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), P.O. Box 219, 5070 Frick, Switzerland
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International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), B.P. 2008 (Messa), Nkolbisson, Yaoundé, Cameroon
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Zoology Department, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi P.O. Box 62000-00200, Kenya
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2019, 10(10), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10100367
Received: 24 September 2019 / Revised: 11 October 2019 / Accepted: 18 October 2019 / Published: 22 October 2019
Termite-induced injuries to maize and baby corn were evaluated in on-going comparison experiments on organic and conventional farming systems at two trial sites in the Central Highlands of Kenya (Chuka and Thika). The farming systems were established in 2007 at two input levels: Low input level, representing subsistence farming (Conv-Low, Org-Low) and high input level, representing commercial farming (Conv-High, Org-High). Termite-induced injuries to maize and baby corn, such as tunneling the stem or lodging the whole plant were assessed over two cropping seasons. The lodging occurred exclusively at Thika. It first became apparent in the Org-Low system, with most of lodging occurring during the vegetative stage. Baby corn grown under high input systems showed increasing lodging from the late vegetative crop stage and peaked before the final harvest. Tunneling was recorded at both sites, but was generally below 5%, with no significant differences between the farming systems. Overall, the injury patterns caused by termites appear to be a function of the plant growth stage, termite colony activities, trial site, and the types and levels of fertilizer input. Thus, the management practice used in each farming system (organic or conventional) might have greater influence on crop injuries than the type of farming system itself or the termite abundance within each system. View Full-Text
Keywords: termites; maize damage; farming systems research; organic farming termites; maize damage; farming systems research; organic farming
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Anyango, J.J.; Bautze, D.; Fiaboe, K.K.M.; Lagat, Z.O.; Muriuki, A.W.; Stöckli, S.; Onyambu, G.K.; Musyoka, M.W.; Karanja, E.N.; Adamtey, N. Termite-Induced Injuries to Maize and Baby Corn under Organic and Conventional Farming Systems in the Central Highlands of Kenya. Insects 2019, 10, 367.

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