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EFFECTS OF POPULATION DENSITY AND LEAF-SPOTS CONTROL ON


YIELD OF GROUNDNUTS (A ra c h is h y p o g a e a L J IN NIGERIA'

J. Y. Yayock

A BSTRA CT

The effect of growing groundnuts at population densities higher than currently practised by the Nigerian farmer was
investigated in the presence and absence of Cercospora leaf-spots control. Groundnuts produced significantly more
pods of better shelling quality than at the relatively low recommended plant populations. The control of leaf-spots
further increased pod and haulm production and it was evident that in order to better realise the benefit of high density
cropping, groundnuts had to be protected against the disease, even though this caused a slight lowering of shelling
percentage in long-season Samaru 61.

INTRODUCTION

Currently recommended agronomic prac­ and Malaysia (4). Based.on,a low population
tices for groundnut (A ra ch is hypogaea L.) of approximately 47,t)00 piants/ha, Mc­
production in Nigeria include sowing at a Donald (7) reported significant yield gains
population density of approximately 47,000 by controlling leaf-spots in Nigeria and
plants/ha (1). Attempts to increase pod yield Fowler (5) recorded average pod increases
by raising population have not given clear of 23—56% bv spraying with mancozeb.
and consistent results. Meredith (8), for Plant population trials in Nigeria hitherto
example, concluded that sowing groundnuts had not included control of leaf-spot
every 23cm along 91cm ridges (equivalent to diseases; whether this lack of disease control
about 47,000 plants/ha) gave yields which explains the reported inconsistent per­
were not different from those obtained at formance of groundnuts at high populations
159,000 plants/ha. Other studies in which is not. established. Equally uncertain Ls the
population was varied from 24,000 to 72,000 effect of leaf-spots on different varieties,
plants/ha (2 ) showed a yield range of only particularly at widely varying plant popula­
110 kg/ha of pods; a later report (3) described tions. To investigate tf)e relationship
a linear decrease in yield as population between plant density and the control of
ranged from 47,000 to 287,000 piants/ha. C ercospora leaf-spots, the experiments
Leaf-spots (caused by two fungi, C ercos­ described below were carried out for four
pora arachidicola Hori (M ycosphaerella years at two sites in the Sudan savanna
arachidis Deighton) and C ercosporidium vegetation zone of Nigeria, using a range
personation (Beck and Curtis) Deighton of varieties of different growth habits.
(M ycosphaerella barkeleyii Jenkins) and,
for convenience, referred to henceforth MATERIALS AND METHODS
simply as C ercospora leaf-spots) are probab­ The trials were grown between 1970 and
ly the most serious diseases of groundnuts on 1973 at the Research Farm of the Institute
a world-wide scale. Based on a single plant for Agricultural Research in Kano (II
population for each study, estimates of re­ 59’N, 08° 34’E) and at a Farm Centre in
ductions in pod yield due to leaf-spots and Gwarzo (11° 58’N, 07° 58’E). The soils are
increases resulting from their control have ferruginous tropical fine sand, typically free-
been reported from many parts of the world, draining, low in cation exchange capacity
including India (10), United States (6,9) and organic matter and fairly representative

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Sarnaru J. Agric. Res., Voi. 1, No. 1, April 1981 TABLE 1


of a majority of fields in the Sudan savanna corresponding to 43,000, 57,000 and 86,000
where the bulk of the country’s groundnut is plants/ha. Half the trial was protected from
traditionally produced. leaf-spots and other half was not sprayed.
Groundnuts were lifted 118 and 94 days Plant;-
1970 trial at Kano after sowing in 1972 and 1973. respectively.
Varieties used inicuded Sarnaru 61, F452.4 Other culturual operations
and US 608. The first of these is a
All trials received basal applications of
commercial variety of the Castle Cary
250 kg/ha single" superphosphate (18%
spreading bunch type which originated as a
P 2 O5) at least two weeks before sowing.
result of pedigree selection from local
Where leaf-spot diseases were controlled,
Nigerian groundnuts. The latter two
mancozeb (which is brand-named Dithane
varieties are of Virginia bunch type and
M45, and is a mixture of the co-ordination
originally came from breeding programmes Mem
compounds zinc and manganese ethylene
in the USA, at Florida and North Carolina
bisdithiocarbamate) at 2.2 kg/ha in 400 litres
respectively. All three cultivars are long
of water was sprayed weekly from the fourth
season and require between 120 and 135 days
week after sowing until about \ mid-
lo mature. Groundnuts were sown on 1 July
September when the rains ended. Plots, were
using 76cm ridges; spacings between plants
hand-weeded as often as was considered
were varied to give approximately 57,000,
necessary. All trials were arranged in
86.000 and 172,000 plants/ha. Leaf-spot
randomised complete blocks with three or
diseases were not controlled and the crop
four replications. Gross plots were large
was lifted 119 days after sowing.
enough to take care of drift effects of
1571 trial at Kano fungicide sprays and the harvested net area
varied between 13 and 30m.2 Effects of
Sarnaru 61 and Spanish 205 (an early treatments were assessed at harvest in terms
variety which matures in about 100 days) of field-dry weights of pods and haulm and
were sown on 6 July in square arrangements
shelling percentage of pods.
on the Hat to give 47,000, 64,000, 107,000,
191.000 and 430,000 plants/ha. Half the RESULTS
experiment was protected against leaf-spots
while the other half was not. The trial was Much of the variation in yield from year
lifted 111 days after sowing. to year was largely due to differences in
rainfall; the total amount in 1970 was
1572 and 1973 trials at Kano probably adequate for crop growth but the
Sarnaru 61 was sown on 28 June 1972 and distribution was such that most crops,
6 July 1973 in square arrangements on the flat particularly g roundnuts, were poorly
to give 56,000, 173,000, 250,000 and 346,000 developed. In 1973 planting rains were late,
the distribution during growth was poor and
plants/ha. Half the experiment was sprayed
against leaf-spots while the other half was the wet season was so short that effects of
treatments tended to be suppressed and
not. Groundnuts were lifted 109 and 98 days
yields were generally lower during both years
after sowing in 1972 and 1973, respectively.
than in 1971 and 1972 when conditions were
more favourable. Visual distinction could
1.972 and 1973 trials at Gwarzo
easily be made between sprayed and
Sarnaru 61, US. 608 and Spanish 208 were unsprayed plots throughout each growing
.own on 9 June and 7 July, 1972 and 1973 season. At the end of rains when spfuying
cspectively. Spacings between plants on stopped, groundnuts had retained more
Mem ridges were varied to give populations leaves which were greener and had fewer
l
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S S i i i f c s ____ i .

Yayock: Leafspot control on groundnut


TABLE 1 Effect of population density on yield and shelling percentage of three
varieties of groundnuts grown on the ridge at Kano, 1970

Plants/ha Samaru 61 US 608 F452.4 Mean

P ods, k g /h a
57,000 1398 1708 1333 1479
86,000 1527 1928 1417 1624
172,000 1601 1809 1450 1620
1508 1813 1400 —

Mean l
SE of’means: Var or Pop = 47;(VxP) = 90
LSD between means (P = .05); Var. = 139

Shelling %
57,000 69.2 67.3 69.6 68.5
86,000 70.8 68.8 70.8 70.2
172,000 71.7 68.5 72.6 70.9
Mean 70.5 68.3 70.8 —
SE of means: Var or Pop = 0.6; (VxP) = .40
1.SD between means (P = .05): Var or Pop ■■= 1.7
/ H a u lm , k g /h a
57,000 1531 1388 996 1305
86,000 1759 1525 1164 1482
172,000 1959 1549 1123 1543
Mean 1749 1487 1094 —
SE of means: Var or Pop =52; (VxP) = 90
LSD between means (P = .05): Var or Pop = 149

spots than in unsprayed plants. Results of in US 608 followed by Samaru 61 (Table 1


yield and shelling percentage are presented in and 2). Raising the population density from
Tables 1—4. 57,000 to 86,000 plants/ha at Kano resulted
in 13% more yield in US 608 compared with
Pod yield 9% and 6% in Samaru 61 and F452.4
Pod yield Hf groundnuts grown on ridges respectively; no additional yield benefit was
at any one plant population at Kano in 1970 obtained at 172,000 plants/ha on the ridge.
and Gwarzo in 1972 was consistently highest By increasing population from 43,000 to
I
Samara J. Agric. .Res., Vol. 1, No. I, April 1981
TABLE 2
Effect of variety, population density and leaf-spots control on pod yield of three
varieties of groundnuts grown on the ridge at Gvvarzo (kg/ha)

Plants/ Spanish 1972 Samaru Mean Spanish 1973 Samaru Mean


ha 205 U S.608 61 205 US.608 61

U n sp ra y e d

43,000 2210 3280 3280 2923 404 281 290 325


57,000 2415 3405 3302 3040 420 367 393 393
86,000 2412 3632 3455 3166 827 314 561 567
Mean 2345 3439 3345 • — 550 320 *414 -

S prayed

43,000 2035 3685 3277 2999 A ll 345 318 363


57,000 2412 3710 3507 3209 459 346 476 427
86,000 2767 3835 3505 3369 784 490 598 607
Mean 2404 3743 3429 — 556 393 464 —

SE of means (1972): Var or Pop = 115; Spray = 94; (P x Spr).or (P x Spr) =163; (VxP) = 199
SE of means (1973): Var or Fop =. 50; Spray = 41; (V x Spr) or (P x Spr) = 71: (VxP) = 86
LSD between means (P = .05): Var = 325 (1972); Var or Pop =141 (1973).

86,000 plants/ha at Gwarzo, Spanish 205 corresponding yield increases were 78% and
yielded 36% more pods when protected 109%. Protecting Samara 61 variety grown
against leaf-spots compared with only 9% at low populations did not result in as large a
without disease control. Other varieties were benefit as under high populations; yield
much less responsive to changes in population increase due to leaf-spots control was 23% at
even when leaf-spots were controlled (Table 47.000 piants/ha and this increased with
2). Under less favourable growth conditions increase in plant population to 46% at
in 1973, US 608 performed less well at this 430.000 plants/ha. In contrast, the highest
location than the other varieties and its yield benefit of leaf-spots control in Spanish 205
was not increased as markedly at high was observed at the lowest density: compare
density. The control of leaf-spots generally 79% yield increase at 47,000 plants/ha and
had little effect on pod yield during this year. an average of 45% at higher populations.
In the absence of leaf-spots control at Using Samara 61 at Kano in 1972 and
Kano i 971, pod yield of Samara 61 and 1973, it was observed that irrespective of the
Spanis: ' were increased about 49% and leaf-spots situation, no substantial yield
' ! % rc . cctively, when cropped at 430,000 increases were obtained at populptibns
ad of 47,000 plants/ha (Table 3). By above 173,000 plants/ha (Table 4). When
protecting the crop against leaf-spots, unsprayed, Samara 61 yielded 22% and 16%

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Samaru J. Agric. Res., 'Vol. 1, No. 1, April 1981
TABLE 4

Effect of population density and leaf-spots control on yield and shelling


percentage of Samaru 61 groundnuts grown on the flat at Kano.

1973 1972

Plants/ha Jnsprayed Sprayed M ean U nsprayed Sprayed Mean

P ods, k g / ha

56,000 2233 2450 2314 1007 1136 1072


173,000 2725 3133 2929 1168 1743 1456
250,000 2825 3211 3018 1253 1585 1419
346,000 2824 3154 2989 1149 1554 1352
Mean 2651 2987 1145 1405 y L

SE of, means : (1972): Pop = 94; Spray = 67; (Pop x Spr) = 33


SE of means ( 1973): Pop = 51; Spray = 36; (Pop x Spr) = 73
LSD between means (P = .05): Pop = 266, Spray = 188 (1972 ; Pop = 146,
Spray = 103(1973)

Shelling % 1. <

56,000 67.5 66.5 67.0 66.9 67.7 67.2


173,000 68.6 65.8 67.2 69.3 68.6 68.9
250,000 69.9 63.6 66.7 68.7 68.0 68.3
346,000 66.4 65.6 66.0 69.4 67.5 68.4
Mean 68.1 65.3 — 68.5 67.9 —

SE of means (1972): Pop = .75; Spray =.53; (Pop x Spr) = .05


SE of means (1973): Pop = .95; Spray = .60; (Pop x Spr) = 1. 20
LSD between means (P = . 05); Spray = 1.4 (1972)

H aulm , k g /h a

56,000 3260 4377 3818 1931 2035 1938


173,000 4385 6301 5343 2733 ■ 3393 3063
250,000 4309 5935 5122 3270 3307 3288
346,000 4614 6450 5532 3298 3817 3557
Mean 4142 5765 — 2808 3138 -- •

SE of means (1972): Pop = 185; Spray = 131; (Pop x Spr) = 261


SE of means (1973): Pop = 121; Spray = 85; (Pop x Spr) = 171
LSD between means (P = .05): Pop = 521, Spray = 368 1972 (972): Pop = 343,
Spray = 244 (1973)
X. '
Yayock: Leafspot control on groundnut
TABLE 3
Effect of population density and leaf-spots control on yield and shelling
percentage of two varieties of groundnuts grown on the flat at Kano, 1971

Samaru 61 Spanish 20E>

Plants/ha Unsprayed Sprayed Mean Unsprayed Sprayed M ean

P ods k g /h a

47,000 1599 1968 1783 956 1712 . 1334


64,000 2089 2616 2356 1787 2660 2223
107,000 2021 2518 2269 2077 2703 2390
191,000 2283 2917 2601 2123 2943 2533
430,000 2389 3496 2942 2209 3585 2897
Mean 2076 2703 — 1830 2720 —
SE oMncans: Var or Spray = 82; Pop = 129; (VxP) or (PxSpr) = 183; (VxSpr) = 115
LSD between means (P = .05): Pop -- 364; Spray = 230.

Shelling %

47,000 60.9- 64.-1 ■63.0 69.9 ' " 72.9 71.3


64,000 67.5 66.0 66.7 73.0 7? ? 72.6
107,000 63.7 65.3 64.5 71.6 73.3 72.4
191,000 73.4 69.9 71.6 75.0 76.2 75.6
430,000 70.3 68.3 69.3 76.2 77.3 76.7
Mean 67.1 66.7 — 73.1 74.3 —

SE of means: Var or Spray = 0.8; Pop - 0.9


LSD between means (P = .05): Pop = 2.9; Var = 2 4
)

\"
H aulm k g /h a \

47,000 1976 2898 2437 734 1543 1138


64,000 2348 3583 2965 1313 2097 1705
107,000 2698 3632 3165 1588 2363 1975
19. >'>0 2916 4004 3460 1634 2209 1921
430,00 3161 5849 4505 2248 2781 2514
Mean 2691 3993 — 1503 2198 —

SE of means: Var or Spt r 112; Pop 176; (VxP) or (P x Spr) = 249; (VxSpr) = 157
LSD between means (P = 05): Pop =■ 497; Var or Spray = 3 1 4
'i

.1
*

Yayock: Leafspot control on groundnut


more pods when density was raised from and 80%. As was the case with pods, the
56.000 to 173,000 plants/ha in 1972 and highest increase in haulm yield of Spanish
1973 respectively; applying control measures 205 due to leaf-spots control (110%) was the
against leaf-spots resulted in corresponding lowest plant population and this declined (to
yield increases of 28% and 53%. Increase in an average of 42%) at higher populations. In
yield achieved by controlling leaf-spots at contrast, disease control improved haulm
56.000 plants/ha amounted to 10% and production in Samaru 61 by 47% at 47,000
13%, compared with 15% and 49% at plants/ha and by 58% averaged over all
173.000 plants/ha in 1972 and 1973 higher populations.
respectively. By increasing population from 56,000 to
173,000 plants/ha at Kano in 1972, haulm
Shelling percentage yield of Samaru 61 was increased by
Of all the varieties investigated, Spanish averages of 35% and 44% in the absence and
205 had the highest pod shelling percentage presence of leaf-spots control respectively
(Table 4). Corresponding haulm increases in
(Table 1, 3 and 4). In 1970, shelling percent­
age was significantly lower in US 608 than 1973 were 42% and 67%. The control of
either Samaru 61 or F452.4 at any one plant leaf-spots in the former year resulted in 34%
population in Kano. Raising the crop density additional haulm at the lowest population
generally resulted in increased shelling density of Samaru 61, compared with 44%
percentage. Although differences were at 173,000 plants/ha; no marked increases in
small, the control of leaf-spots tended to haulm yield were obtained, irrespective of
lower the shelling percentage of Samaru 61, leaf-spots situation, above this plant
particularly at populations higher than population.
47.000 plants/ha, while improving that of DISCUSSION
Spanish 205 during the only year
measurement was made for this latter variety
Although differences were statistically
(Table 3) . ' 4 negligible, it is noteworthy that the control
of leaf-spots tended to increase shelling
Haulm yield
percentage of Spanish 205 while decreasing
At Kano, Samaru 61 produced the highest that of Samaru 61. The observed retention
weight of haulm in 1970, followed by US 608 of more green leaves by sprayed groundnuts
(Table 1). Raising the population on the (for about ten days) probably meant more
ridge from 57,000 to 86,000 plants/ha vegetative activity than in unsprayed plants.
without disease control resulted in haulm Being an early-maturing variety which is also
increases amounting to 10%, 15% and 17% very susceptible to leaf-spots, unsprayed
in US 608, Samaru 61. and. F542.4 respecti­ Spanish 205 characteristically shed most of
vely. Further increasing density to 172,000 its leaves at maturity. The continued
plant/ha yielded an additional 1 1 % haulm in retention of a limited bulk of leaves as a
Samaru 61 without a corresponding effect result of fungicide use was probably at a
on the other two varieties. time when soil moisture was not critical and
in the absence of leaf-spots control at plants were thus able to divert food reserves
Kano in 1971, haulm yields of Samaru 61 into pod-filling as shown by the higher
and Spanish 205 were increased to 60% and values of shelling percentage. In contrast,
206%, respectively, when population density long-season Samaru 61 probably used most
was raised from 47,000 to 430,000 plants/ha of its food reserves in vegetative growth at a
(Table 3). Corresponding yield increases in period detrimental to pod development and
the presence of leaf-spots control were 102 % fill.

9
O w A 'Y 'W i '^ f G i A ■' ' 'V1A o 's i w . v /

Samaru J. Agric. Res., Vol. 1, No. 1, April 1981


Being a short-season variety, Spanish 205 A cknow ledgem ent
was less influenced by the short duration of
Acknowledgement is made to,the Director, Institute
rainfall than were the other varieties during
for Agricultural Research, A\ifnadu Bello University.
the drought year at Gwarzo. The minimal Zaria, Nigeria, for permission tq publish this work which
increases, obtained by leaf-spots control at forms part of the Oilseeds Improvement 'Programme
this location were probably due to a lack of approved by the Board of Governors of the Institute,
adequate protection against the disease, Acknowledgement is also made to Mr C. Harkness for
provision of seed.
although its incidence was probably low as a
result of dry weather. Author
The rather limited response to higher Dr. J. Y. Yayock is a Senior Research Fellow and
head of the Agronomy Section at the Institute for
density on the ridge was probably a result of
Agricultural Research, ABU, Zaria.
intcrplant competition along the direction of
the ridge. Growing groundnuts on the flat in REFERENCES
a square arrangement was a more flexible
method of obtaining higher population 1. Anonymous. 1966. Recommended practices fro
groundnut production. Recommended Practs
densities without necessarily intensifying
No. 1, Agricultural Extension and Resenu •
plant competition in any one direction. Yield Liaison Services, Ahmadu Bello University / o
gains from each increase in plant population (Revised 1976).
were more when the crop was sprayed 2. Anonymous. 1969. Report to the Board of G o v - ,
against leaf-spots than when no control nors: Groundnuts Institute for Agnt.u.r
measure was effected. It was evident also • Research, Ahmadu Bello'University, Zaria. 7.
that while substantial yield benefits were 3. Anonymous. 1970. Report to the Board of G .
attained by cropping at high plant popula nors: Groundnuts. Institute for Agri'o; ■
tions, potential production of both pods and Research, Ahmadu i Bello University. 7 ■
7 9 -8 1 .
haulm was better explored when leaf-spot
diseases were controlled. The effectiveness 4. Chee, K. H. 1972. Chemical control of Cercoi.
leaf-spots of groundnuts. Planter 48 (R>5
of leaf-spots control measures at any one
1 4 6 - 150.
population density probably did not depend
5. Fowler, A. M. 1971: Losses caused by lea! s:
only on environmental factors, but could
disease of groundnuts. Samaru Agric. New.
have also been influenced by the incidence of letter 13 (1): 1 1 -1 5 .
the diseases. The occurrence of leaf-spots
6. Jackson, C. R. and D. K. Bell. 1969. Disease: '>
w'as not assessed for the various plant groundnuts caused by fungi. Ur.iv. Car .
populations and varieties; but results at Agric. Exptl. Sts. Res. Ball. 56: 7 - 1 4 .
Kano in 1971 would imply that, for early- 7. McDonald, D. 1970. Field trials for control
maturing Spanish 205, the incidence of leaf- Cercospora leaf-spot diseases of ground: 1
spots was probably less at high than at low Samaru Agric. Newsletter 12 (4): 70.
plant populations. The reverse appeared true 8. Meredith, R. M. 1964. The effects of plant,-
for Samaru 61. density and manuring on the yields of bun,
Unlike the situation on the ridge where type groundnuts. Empire J. Exptl. Ago,
(126): 136 - 140.
yield was increased up to a density of 86,000
piants/ha, square planting on the flat led to 9. Porter, D. M . 1970. Effectiveness of benomyl -
controlling Cercospora leaf-spot of peanuts
pod gains with each successive increase in
Scientific Researches 5 (4): 221—225.
density up to 430,000 plants/ha at Kano in
1971 and 173,000 plants/ha in 1972 and
1973. Haulm production was similarly
increased, but up to the highest population
tested in each trial.