Cowpea and beet intercropping agro-economic dynamics under spatial arrangement and cowpea population density
The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of planting spatial arrangements between the cowpea and beet crops in intercropping and of cowpea population densities on the crop's productivity and in the agro-economic efficiency of the association at two growing seasons. The experimental design was of randomised blocks with the treatments arranged in a 4 x 3 factorial scheme, in four replications. The first factor was constituted by three spatial arrangements between the component
... he component cultures (2:2, 3:3 and 4:4), formed by beet rows alternated with cowpea rows, while the second factor was constituted by the population densities of cowpea: 40, 60, 80 and 100% of the recommended population in single crop (RDSC). The production and its components were evaluated in the beet and cowpea. Apart from these characteristics, the following agro-economic indicators were also determined for each treatment: system productivity index (SPI), the land equivalent coefficient (LEC), and the monetary equivalent ratio (MER). The maximum production of commercial beet roots was obtained with 15.60 t ha-1 productivity at density of 61.82% of RDSC within the 4:4 arrangement, while the maximum yield of cowpea green grains of 2.23 t ha-1 was reached at density of 79.57% of RDSC within 2:2 spatial arrangement. The productivities of beet roots of extra A, extra AA and great types decreased with increasing cowpea population density, without any influence of the tested spatial arrangements. The maximum mean productivity of cowpea green pods of 1.74 t ha-1 was obtained at density of 87.47% of RDSC, reached within 2:2 spatial arrangement. The maximum economic efficiency of the cowpea-beet intercropping was obtained with MER of 1.11 at cowpea density of 100% of RDSC, irrespective of the spatial arrangement and growing season.