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Tumbure A.,Soil Productivity Research Laboratory | Tumbure A.,University of Zimbabwe | Wuta M.,University of Zimbabwe | Mapanda F.,University of Zimbabwe
South African Journal of Plant and Soil | Year: 2013

Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) is an introduced temperate forage legume in Zimbabwe that has no locally available commercial inoculant. In this study, Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viceae strains MAR 1504, MAR 833 and MAR 346 available in Zimbabwe's strain bank were evaluated for nodulation and N2-fixing effectiveness in a sandy soil (Typic Kandiustalf). There was no significant difference in hairy vetch biomass (range: 3.4-4.5 g pot-1) and nitrogen (N) content between plants in acidic and limed soil, showing that soil acidity was not a major problem for hairy vetch productivity in the short term. Inoculation with R. leguminosarum significantly increased (p < 0.05) biomass production (range: 0.37-3.11 t ha-1) and enhanced N2 fixation of hairy vetch compared to the uninoculated control, which had no nodules and significantly less biomass. Hairy vetch fixed up to 66.5 kg N ha-1 in the field, and this amount may be made available for cereal crops as green manure. From the strains tested, MAR 833 and MAR1504 were more effective than MAR 346 in increasing the amount of N2 fixed per unit area and are thus recommended for further multilocation field testing in farmer's fields to allow conclusive identification of strains to use in commercial inoculant production. Copyright © 2013 Combined Congress Continuing Committee.

Giller K.E.,Wageningen University | Giller K.E.,University of Zimbabwe | Murwira M.S.,Soil Productivity Research Laboratory | Dhliwayo D.K.C.,Chemistry and Soil Research Institute | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability | Year: 2011

Maize is the dominant staple crop across most of southern Africa - it is so dominant in some areas that more than 80 per cent of the smallholder land area is planted with maize. Soyabean was identified as the crop with a potential to address the need for diversifying the cropping systems, which could assist in overcoming the pervading soil fertility constraints and could provide smallholder farmers with an opportunity to earn income while also addressing the nutritional security of households. An initiative was launched in the 1996/97 cropping season in Zimbabwe, to test soyabean as a potential smallholder crop. From an initial 55 farmers in the first year, soyabean production expanded rapidly to an estimated 10,000 farmers three years later. Since then, soyabean has diffused spontaneously to most smallholder farming areas in the higher rainfall zones of Zimbabwe. Thus, the initiative has assisted a large number of smallholders to grow soyabean, and exploded a long-held belief in Zimbabwe that soyabean is not a suitable crop for smallholders. © 2011 Earthscan.

Lindstrom K.,University of Helsinki | Murwira M.,Soil Productivity Research Laboratory | Willems A.,Ghent University | Altier N.,National Institute for Agricultural Research
Research in Microbiology | Year: 2010

Symbiotic nitrogen fixation is the main route for sustainable input of nitrogen into ecosystems. Nitrogen fixation in agriculture can be improved by inoculation of legume crops with suitable rhizobia. Knowledge of the biodiversity of rhizobia and of local populations is important for the design of successful inoculation strategies. Soybeans are major nitrogen-fixing crops in many parts of the world. Bradyrhizobial inoculants for soybean are very diverse, yet classification and characterization of strains have long been difficult. Recent genetic characterization methods permit more reliable identification and will improve our knowledge of local populations. Forage legumes form another group of agronomically important legumes. Research and extension policies valorizing rhizobial germplasm diversity and preservation, farmer training for proper inoculant use and legal enforcement of commercial inoculant quality have proved a successful approach to promoting the use of forage legumes while enhancing biological N2 fixation. It is worth noting that taxonomically important strains may not necessarily be important reference strains for other uses such as legume inoculation and genomics due to specialization of the different fields. This article points out both current knowledge and gaps remaining to be filled for further interaction and improvement of a rhizobial commons. © 2010.

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