Investigating the use of lantana (lantana camara l.) in weed control using cowpea (vigna unguiculata l. walp) as a test crop

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Chikeyi, Muchimba Linda
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The University of Zambia
In many agricultural systems around the world, competition from weeds is one of the major factors reducing crop yield and farmers‟ income. To this effect many strategies have been developed to manage weeds. One such strategy is cultural weed control. However, cultural weed control is tedious and is associated with high weed re-infestation, especially during the peak growing period. Another method is biological weed control using allelopathic plants such as Lantana camara L. The current study was done to determine the effect of L. camara on weed control in cowpea as a test crop. Specific objectives were: (i) to compare the effects of genotype of Lantana camara on weed control (ii) to identify the effective rate of application of Lantana camara on weed control and (iii) to identify the effective type of application of Lantana camara on weed control. Two genotypes of L. camara were harvested, dried under room temperature, pulverized using mortar and pestle, weighed at different rates (R0: Rate zero without cowpea, R0C: Rate zero with cowpea, R1: Rate one (100 kg ha-1 of Lantana camara), R2: Rate two (200 kg ha-1 of Lantana camara), R3: Rate three (400 kg ha-1 of Lantana camara) and applied using five different types; T0: Type zero of application without cowpea, T0C: Type of application zero with cowpea, T1: Type of application 1 (Broadcasting), T2: Type of application 2 (incorporation with the soil), T3: Type of application 3 (spraying of soaked ground Lantana camara). The research was conducted at the University Of Zambia School Of Agricultural Sciences Field Station arranged in a Split-Split-Plot Design with three replications. Parameters measured were weed population density and weed weight, with crop yield as derived parameter. Data analysis was conducted with Analysis of Variance and treatment means were separated using the Least Significant Difference calculated at P ≤ 0.05 using GenStat 14th Edition. Results showed significant (P < 0.05) differences among all factors and their interactions. The weed population density was higher (P < 0.05) in fields treated with genotype2 (mean = 58.07) than for genotype1 (mean = 51.46). Weed population density and weed weight were reduced the most at the highest rate of application (400 kg ha-1) of ground L. camara and was found to be the most effective while type 3 (40.15) was also effective. However, different genotypes exhibited different effects in that G1 had better control resulting in significantly higher yield (876.9 kg ha-1) than both G2 (672.1 kg ha-1) and the control (533.9 kg ha-1) which were in turn significantly different from each other. The study shows that there is immerse potential to use Lantana camara with pink flowers for biological control of weeds in cowpea.
Weed control--Zambia , Herbicides--Zambia