African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6859

Full Length Research Paper

Adopting a three-strata forage system for an integral food, feed outputs and agro-ecological sustenance

Dorine Oware
  • Dorine Oware
  • Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University, P.O. Box 536-20115 Egerton, Kenya.
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Erick Cheruiyot
  • Erick Cheruiyot
  • Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University, P.O. Box 536-20115 Egerton, Kenya.
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Samuel Mwonga
  • Samuel Mwonga
  • Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University, P.O. Box 536-20115 Egerton, Kenya.
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Lydia Waswa
  • Lydia Waswa
  • Department of Human Nutrition, Egerton University, P.O. Box 536-20115 Egerton, Kenya.
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Sahrah Fischer
  • Sahrah Fischer
  • Institute of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics, University of Hohenheim, P.O. Box 70599 Stuttgart, Germany.
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Thomas Hilger
  • Thomas Hilger
  • Institute of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics, University of Hohenheim, P.O. Box 70599 Stuttgart, Germany.
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  •  Received: 06 February 2023
  •  Accepted: 31 March 2023
  •  Published: 31 July 2023

Abstract

The exploitation of diverse cropping practices alongside residue incorporation has remained low among small-holder rural farming households in Sub-Saharan Africa. Three-stratum forage system (TSFS) which integrates forages for animal feeds with food crops is a significant sustainable strategy for enhancing residue incorporation. This study was conducted in Busia County in Kenya to; (i) determine the effects of TSFS on yield of diversified food crops grown (ii) to determine the effect of TSFS on growth and physiological responses in food crops grown. In TSFS system, desmodium, brachiaria grass and pigeon peas were grown in the peripheral area of the farm as forages. The treatments were laid on a randomized complete block design at two locations for 3 years (2019, 2020 and 2021), yield in t ha-1, growth and physiological responses in plants measured. The data collected were subjected to Analysis of variance (ANOVA) in SAS software and means separated using LSD at 5% level of significance. Plant growth vigor, physiological responses and yield in t ha-1 were significantly higher in TSFS system where residues were incorporated than in no TSFS system (P<0.001). The results revealed that TSFS cropping system could be a better solution to food security and agro-ecological sustenance.

Key words: Three-Strata forage cropping system (TSFS), crop residue incorporation, food security.