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Effects of row spacing on productivity and nodulation of two soybean varieties under hot sub-moist tropical conditions in south-western Ethiopia
The objective of this study was to determine the optimum row spacing to improve the productivity of two soybean (Glycine max L.) varieties under the tropical hot sub-moist agroecological conditions of Ethiopia. A two-year split-plot design experiment was conducted to determine the effect of variety (Awasa-95 [early-maturing], Afgat [medium-maturing]) and row spacing (RS: 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60 cm) on the productivity, nodulation and weed infestation of soybean. Seed and total dry matter (TDM) yield per ha and per plant, and weed dry biomass per m^2 were significantly affected by RS. Soybean variety had a significant effect on plant density at harvest and some yield components (plant height, number of seeds/pod, and 1000 seed weight). Generally, seed and TDM yield per ha and per plant were high at 40 cm RS, and weed dry biomass per m^2 was higher for RS >= 40 cm than for narrower RS. However, the results did not demonstrate a consistent pattern along the RS gradient. The medium-maturing variety Afgat experienced higher mortality and ended up with lower final plant density at harvest, but higher plant height, number of seeds per pod and 1000 seed weight than the early-maturing variety Awasa-95. The results indicate that 40 cm RS with 5 cm plant spacing within a row can be used for high productivity and low weed infestation of both soybean varieties in the hot sub-moist tropical environment of south-western Ethiopia.