The effect of superphosphate on the productivity of mucuna (Mucuna pruriens) on a sandy loam soil in Zimbabwe
Positive responses to increased soil phosphorus (P) supply have been noted for several leguminous species including mucuna (Mucuna pruriens). The major objective of this research was to investigate the effect of P level of 40 kg P ha-1 on the productivity of mucuna on a kaolinitic sandy loam soil in Zimbabwe. Two P treatments [P0 = 0 kg P ha-1 and P40 = 40 kg P ha-1] were applied prior to planting a mucuna crop. The following parameters were investigated; biomass, leaf area index (LAI), nodulation data, nitrogen (N) fixed, foliar nutrient dynamics and yield and yield quality. The P40 treatment resulted in significant increases in biomass, leaf area index, nodulation and N fixation compared to the P0 treatment. The foliar N, P and calcium (Ca) content also increased significantly in the P40 treatment compared to the P0 control while magnesium (Mg) and potassium (K) levels were not significantly affected. The final pod yield and overall pod quality was also higher in the P40 treatment compared to the P0 treatment. These results imply that P application in this particular soil conditions will positively influence mucuna production and therefore probably enhance the role of mucuna as a rotational crop by increased positive effects on the subsequent maize phase.