Linkages between crop residues, termite prevalence, crop lodging and subsequent crop yield under conservation agriculture in Zimbabwe

Farmers believe that addition of residues to fields in conservation agriculture (CA) attract termites hence increase lodging, although they are beliefs that termites prefer feeding on dry matter and leave the crop. This study carried out in Kadoma and Chikombedzi, Zimbabwe established links between crop residues, termite prevalence, crop lodging and yield. Results from Kadoma showed that in 2008/9, 4t/ha of residue had significantly more termites compared to conventional mouldboard plough systems (CMP). In 2009/10, 4 and 6t/ha residues resulted into a significantly higher termite compared to CMP. In both seasons in Chikombedzi, results were similar with those of Kadoma. In Chikombedzi in 2009/10, lodging in CA was significantly higher compared to CMP. In Kadoma 2008/09, yields (2900-3348kg/ha) were significantly higher under CA compared to CMP (2117kg/ha). Similar results were obtained at Chikombedzi. A significant and positive relationship was observed between percentage soil moisture and termite numbers, suggesting that CA attract termites although it also increases yields. It is therefore necessary to integrate termite control measures in maize production under conservation agriculture systems.
Les agriculteurs croient que l’addition des résidus aux champs dans l’agriculture de conservation (CA) attire les termites et par conséquent favorise leur séjour, bien qu’ils croient que les termites préfèrent s’alimenter en nourriture dans la matière sèche et laissent la récolte. Cette étude effectuée à Kadoma et Chikombedzi, au Zimbabwe, a établi des liens entre les résidus de récolte, la prédominance de termite, le logement de récolte et le rendement. Les résultats de Kadoma ont prouvé qu’en 2008/2009, 4t/ha de résidu ont eu sensiblement plus des termites comparés aux systèmes conventionnels de charrue de lame (CMP). En 2009/2010, des résidus de 4 et 6t/ha ont résulté vers un termite sensiblement plus haut comparé au CMP. Dans les deux saisons à Chikombedzi, les résultats étaient semblables à ceux de Kadoma. A Chikombedzi en 2009/2010, le logement dans l’agriculture de conservation CA était sensiblement plus haut comparé au CMP. A Kadoma en 2008/2009, les rendements (de 2900 à 3348kg/ha) étaient sensiblement plus élevés sous l’agriculture de conservation CA comparé au CMP (2117kg/ha). Des résultats semblables ont été obtenus à Chikombedzi. On a observé un rapport significatif et positif entre l’humidité de sol et les nombres de termite, suggérant que l’agriculture de conservation CA attire les termites bien qu’il augmente également des rendements. Il est donc nécessaire d’intégrer des mesures de contrôle de termite dans la production de maïs sous les systèmes d’agriculture de conservation.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Southern Africa
RUFORUM Conferences and Workshops
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Access restriction: 
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".