Part of the book: Crop Production Technologies
Part of the book: Crop Production
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is the most important oilseed crop in South Africa. Its production in semi-arid area is limited by low rainfall exacerbated by high temperatures that deplete soil moisture. Cowpea (Vigna unguiculta) intercropped in sunflower could reduce evaporation of soil moisture by increasing soil cover. A field study was carried out 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 seasons in the Limpopo Province (South Africa) to compare (i) the changes in soil profile water storage, (ii) water use efficiency, and (iii) productivity of the sunflower–cowpea cropping systems. Extraction patterns by layers showed no significant differences in all cropping systems in the 0–300, 300–600, and 600–900 mm during 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 seasons. Sole sunflower (SS) significantly extracted more soil water than sole cowpea and the intercrop from the 1200- to 1500-mm layer after 56 days after planting (DAP) during 2007/2008 season. There were no significant differences in soil water extraction by cropping systems in the whole profile during both cropping seasons. Intercropping of sunflower resulted in grain yield reduction of sunflower of up to 50 and 30% of cowpea during 2007/2008 and 2008/2009, respectively. Water use and water use efficiency by SS were significantly greater than other cropping systems during the second cropping season.
Part of the book: Alternative Crops and Cropping Systems
Risk assessment of sunflower production was carried out using an empirical model. The crop yield prediction for semi-arid areas (CYP-SA) was used to simulate sunflower yield using 26 years (1984–2010) climatic data. Scenarios of crop yield simulation included production techniques associated with in-field rainwater harvesting (IRWH), and conventional tillage (CT). IRWH is a no-till (NT) crop production practice that promotes runoff from a crusted runoff strip into basins where water infiltrates beyond evaporation. The study focused on the effect of initial soil water content at planting viz. empty profile (water content near the lower limit of plant available water (LL)); half profile (water content between LL and the drained upper limit (DUL)); full profile (water content near DUL) and planting dates (November, December and January). Yield difference at 80% probability was 74% higher under IRWH compared to CT with empty initial soil water content at planting. Results indicated that IRWH is more sustainable compared to the CT.
Part of the book: Sustainable Crop Production