An evaluation of the effect of hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) on soil fertility of sandy soils in central Zimbabwe

Crop production in smallholder farming systems of Zimbabwe is limited by low inherent soil fertility, particularly N and P and available soil moisture. The use of efficient N fixing legumes is one way that can sustain soil fertility and conserve soil and moisture. Efforts to improve and manage soil fertility and soil and water conservation problems are hampered by the fact that the range of legume options available for use on depleted sandy soils, common in Zimbabwe smallholder farms and many other countries of Southern Africa, is narrow. In this study, the effect of hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) on the fertility of sandy soils will be evaluated at three study sites and compared with Sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L.) and Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). The effects will be assessed by determining the biomass production and fertility benefits of the three legumes to a succeeding maize crop and when planted as intercrops. Preliminary results have shown that sunnhemp has the greatest biomass yield followed by cowpea and hairy vetch has the lowest yield.
La production agricole dans les systèmes des petits exploitants agricoles du Zimbabwe est limitée par la faible fertilité des sols inhérente, en particulier à N et P et l’humidité disponible dans le sol. L’utilisation de légumineuses efficaces fixatrices de N est un moyen qui peut maintenir la fertilité des sols et conserver les sols et l’humidité. Les efforts visant à améliorer et gérer la fertilité du sol et les problèmes de conservation de l’eau et des sols sont entravés par le fait que l’éventail des options des légumineuses disponibles pour une utilisation dans les sols sableux appauvris, communs dans les petites exploitations agricoles du Zimbabwe et de nombreux autres pays d’Afrique australe, est étroit. Dans cette étude, l’effet de la vesce velue
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Region Focus: 
Southern Africa
RUFORUM Conferences and Workshops
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Open Access
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Printed resource

"The 2010 RUFORUM Biennial Conference was the second in the series. The main objective of the Biennial conferences is to provide a platform for agricultural research for development stakeholders in Africa and beyond to actively exchange findings and experiences, while at the same time learning lessons towards improving performance of the agricultural sector and ultimately people’s livelihoods. The biennial conference is RUFORUM’s most comprehensive meeting for the diversity of stakeholers in agriculture. It is especially dedicated to graduate students and their supervisors, grantees in RUFORUM member universities and alumni. It is a platform for peer review, quality control, mentorship, networking and shared learning. This record contains an extended abstract accepted under the theme of agronomy".