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Management of cogongrass Imperata cylindrica with velvetbean Mucuna pruriens var. utilis and herbicides
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Field experiments were conducted in 1992 to 1993 and in 1995 to 1996 in Ibadan, Nigeria, to assess the effect of velvetbean and herbicides on maize (corn) and cogongrass growth and to assess regrowth of the weed 1 yr after treatment. In 1992 and 1995 cover cropping with velvetbean and imazapyr and glyphosate application reduced cogongrass density as much as the handweeded control. The smothering effect of velvetbean was equivalent to that of glyphosate at 1.8 kg/ha but was less than imazapyr even at the lowest rate of 0.5 kg/ha. Addition of adjuvant did not improve the efficacy of either herbicide. Maize grain yield was higher in velvetbean plots than in fallow plots dominated by cogongrass. Velvetbean and herbicide effects on cogongrass 1 yr later (1993 and 1996) followed a similar trend as observed in the year of application. Annual weed density was highest in glyphosate plots, followed by imazapyr, and least in plots previously seeded to velvetbean. Maize grain yield was higher in herbicide plots (average yield of 3,170 and 1,920 kg/ha in 1993 and 1996, respectively) than in velvetbean plots (2,800 to 1,180 kg/ha in 1993 and 1996, respectively) and handweeded plots (2,890 and 723 kg/ha in 1993 and 1996, respectively). In 1996 the lowest maize yield was in handweeded plots without velvetbean, suggesting that weeding four times suppressed cogongrass density and biomass, but was not sufficient to minimize the subsequent competition from annual weeds. Uncontrolled cogongrass reduced maize yield to zero. These studies suggest that planting velvetbean for cogongrass control may be a better alternative for farmers without the re- sources to purchase herbicides