The effects of tillage on weed suppressive ability, leaf area, seed yield and protein content of Mucuna pruriens var. utilis
Keywords:cover crops; hoeing; leaf area; velvet bean; weed suppressive ability
In the field of the Agricultural University of Athens, the effects of tillage on weed suppressive ability, leaf area, seed yield and protein content of velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens) were evaluated under the climatic conditions of Greece. The experiment was carried out in a randomized complete block design with three replicates. The three experimental treatments were: control (untreated), one hoeing for weed seedlings’ elimination at 7 days after sowing, and two hoeings for weed seedlings’ elimination at 7 and 15 days after sowing. Findings revealed that one hoeing reduced annual weeds’ density by 42% as compared to control treatment. Two hoeings resulted in a 47% lower density for annual species as compared to the untreated check. The density of perennial weeds recorded in the plots of one-hoeing treatment was 52% lower than the value recorded in the plots of control treatment. It was also shown that two hoeings can result in a 61% lower density regarding perennial species. Regarding velvet bean’s vegetation growth, one hoeing increased velvet bean leaf area per plant by 26% whereas, in the plots of two-hoeings treatment, the value of leaf area per plant was by 22-36% higher than the corresponding value recorded in untreated control plots. Two hoeings can increase velvet beans seed yield by 44% as well as seeds’ protein content by 17%. Further research is needed to optimize the use of velvet bean as a cover crop and seek for agronomic practices that might enhance its competitiveness against both annual and perennial weed species.
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