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Terra Latinoamericana

versão On-line ISSN 2395-8030versão impressa ISSN 0187-5779


AYALA SANCHEZ, A.; KRISHNAMURTHY, L.  e  BASULTO GRANIEL, J. A.. Legumes as Cover Crops to Improve and Sustain Corn Productivity in the Southern Yucatan. Terra Latinoam [online]. 2009, vol.27, n.1, pp.63-69. ISSN 2395-8030.

More than 50 thousand families in the State of Yucatán, Mexico, depend on maize production under slash-burn agriculture, in which productivity and sustainability are decreasing due to shortage of terrains with secondary vegetation. The objective of the present research was to evaluate the capacity of Canavalia ensiformis and Mucuna pruriens as cover crops in association with maize or as short fallow to improve maize production. The experiment consisted of random blocks with four replicates; the 14 treatments were association M. pruriens or C. ensiformis with maize, with or without 100 kg ha-1 of P2O5; the same legumes in fallow of one or two years, followed by consecutive maize production, with or without P; controls were consecutive maize without fertilization and fertilized with 40-100-0 formula. The results showed that the leguminous cover developed better (P < 0.05) when established as two year fallow. The maize plants were taller (P < 0.05) under the two year M. pruriens-P treatment. Weeds were significantly reduced (P < 0.05) in the two year M. pruriens-P, one year C. ensiformis and maize with M. pruriens treatments. The maize yield was better (P < 0.05) in control plots, but in the fourth year yield decreased and was surpassed by the yield of two-year M. pruriens-P. It is concluded that the leguminous cover crops initially have adverse effects on the development and production of maize under association or fallow, but by the fourth year grain production benefits, especially in the two-year M. pruriens-P system, the maize treatments with and without fertilization, despite having accumulated more production, tended to be unsustainable from the third year.

Palavras-chave : Canavalia ensiformis; Mucuna pruriens; agroforestry; improved fallows.

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