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Optimising yield through novel canopy architecture in intensive cocoa-growing systems

Susanti, R. A. (2023) Optimising yield through novel canopy architecture in intensive cocoa-growing systems. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00112786


The increasing demand for cocoa and the challenges associated with boosting production have prompted the exploration of intensive production techniques. The potential of hedgerow systems to increase cocoa yield by maximizing canopy light interception was investigated in two factorial experiments: Biomass 1, with trellis or conventional tree architecture, 1-4 branches, and four densities (625 - 1111 trees.ha-1); and Biomass 2, with three densities (2000 - 5000 trees.ha-1), East-West or North-South orientation, and two clones (M01 and 45). Pruning treatments significantly increase the light-saturated photosynthetic rate by 15-54%. Middle-aged leaves exhibit the highest photosynthetic rate, indicating that frequent pruning can improve tree productivity (17-67% higher than younger leaves and 27-61% higher than older leaves). However, optimal pruning levels require further investigation. The study revealed that clone 45 grown at density of 2000 trees.ha-1 resulted in higher bean and pod harvest index values over three production years, due to reduced competition for resources compared to other densities. The yield efficiency of clones 45 and M01 varied between 0.02-0.05, with 38-46% pod biomass observed in this study. These findings suggest that planting density and genetic variation are essential factors to consider in cocoa cultivation and can contribute to improved productivity. Clone 45 trees aged 26 and 38 months had the highest yields at 4.46 and 4.6 tonnes.ha-1, but productivity declined in the third year due to limited assimilation conditions. Clones 45 and M01 were unsuitable for high-density planting on the trellis system due to excessive vegetative biomass. The results show that although clone 45 can improve cocoa yield in a trellis-based system at a moderate density, it was not the best option. Five crosses were identified with high yield efficiency, high yield, and low trunk growth increment. These findings highlight the potential of suitable clones to improve productivity in intensive cacao growing systems.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Hadley, P. and Daymond, A.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Agriculture, Policy & Development
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:112786

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