Effects of grain-producing cover crops on rice grain yield in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

ABSTRACT Besides providing benefits to the environment such as soil protection, release of nutrients, soil moisture maintenance, and weed control, cover crops can increase food production for grain production. The aim of this study was to evaluate the production of biomass and grain cover crops (and its respective effects on soil chemical and physical attributes), yield components, and grain yield of rice in Mozambique. The study was conducted in two sites located in the province of Cabo Delgado, in Mozambique. The experimental design was a randomized block in a 2 × 6 factorial, with four repetitions. Treatments were carried out in two locations (Cuaia and Nambaua) with six cover crops: Millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.); namarra bean (Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet), velvet beans (Mucuna pruriens L.), oloco beans (Vigna radiata (L.) R. Wilczek), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.), and fallow. Cover crops provided similar changes in chemical and physical properties of the soil. Lablab purpureus, Vigna unguiculata, and Mucuna pruriens produced the highest dry matter biomass. Vigna unguiculada produced the highest amount of grains. Rice grain yields were similar under all cover crops and higher in Cuaia than Nambaua.