The eastern Ethiopian lowlands are characterized as semi-arid and has low and erratic precipitation, soil erosion and poor soil fertility are the major constrainning factors responsible for limited crop production in the area. An on farm Conservation Agriculture (CA) trial was conducted in two districts (Jigjiga and Gursum) for three consecutive years (2013–2015) with the aim of evaluating various cropping systems under CA (minimum tillage and crop residue retention) with conventional practice (CP)) for maize grain and biomass yield.The trials were designed using a Randomized Completely Block Design (RCBD). Three farmers per location were considered as replications. A total of six treatment were included; five CA based cropping system that is maize-common bean rotation, common bean-maize rotation, maize-common bean intercropping, maize-common bean intercropping (tied ridges), maize-lablab intercropping; and one farmers practice that is sole maize under CP. The result showed that CA based common bean-maize rotation and maize-common bean intercropping cropping system gave grain yields of (40.89 and 36.44 qt ha 1) and stover (117.7 and 106.79 qt ha 1) yield benefits than sole cropping under conventional practice grain (26.09 qt ha 1) and stover (83.35 qt ha 1) yield. CA based common bean maize rotation and intercropping was found to give advantageous results in sandy-clay-loam soil and recommended to promote in similar agro-ecology zone.
Keywords: conservation agriculture, conventional agriculture, maize, common bean, intercropping, rotation