Advertisement

Assessment of Effects of Zero and Conventional Tillage Practices on Soil Moisture and Wheat Grain Yield in Arid and Semi-Arid Land of Laikipia, Kenya

  • Mary W. MutongaEmail author
  • Emmanuel C. Kipkorir
  • Wilson K. Ng’etich
Original Paper
  • 18 Downloads

Abstract

Soil water conservation through tillage is one appropriate way of addressing soil moisture deficit in rain-fed agriculture. The influence of zero and conventional tillage on soil moisture and yield of wheat was investigated in arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) of Laikipia County, during short rain season of 2015/2016 (September to February). Field trials were carried out with two tillage treatments, zero tillage (ZT) and conventional tillage (CT), with four varying sowing onset dates namely early (SD1), normal (SD2), late (SD3), and a control treatment with supplemental irrigation under normal sowing dates (WTSD2). The zero tillage fields used had been under the tillage practice for over 10 years while adjacent conventional tillage field was disturbed by plowing and harrowing. This was laid out in a randomized complete block design in split plot arrangement with three replicates. Undisturbed soil samples for gravimetric soil moisture determination were taken every 10 days from four depths (10 cm, 25 cm, 45 cm, and 60 cm) in the root zone during the entire growing season from each sub-plot. Irrespective of the sowing date, soil water content at the root zone between the two tillage practices and crop yields was significantly different at p < 0.05. The mean yield was 5.70 ± 1.08 ton/ha (CT) and 8.69 ± 0.54 ton/ha (ZT) in rain-fed trials. Supplemental irrigation trials for the two tillage practices had comparatively equal mean grain yield (12.91 ± 1.37 ton/ha (ZT) and 13.61 ± 0.46 ton/ha (CT)). It was concluded that zero tillage conserved moisture better leading to higher grain yield gap of up to 3 ton/ha.

Keywords

Climate change Infiltration Moisture retention Onset of rainfall Root zone Runoff 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Mr. L. Sessions (Proprietor, Lengetia Farm Ltd) and the entire management and staff of Lengetia farm Ltd. are acknowledged for giving access to set up the field trials in their farm and continued support during the entire period of the study.

References

  1. 1.
    Potter KN, Torbert HA, Morrison JE (1995) Tillage and residue effect on infiltration and sediment losses on vertisols. Am Soc Agric Eng 38:1413–1419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Coleman C (2003) What are the effects of no-till farming on soil moisture and soil temperature compared to conventional tillage in Rice County Kansas? Cantaurus 11(May):2–4Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Tripathi R, Raju R, Thimmappa K (2013) Impact of zero tillage on economics of wheat production in Haryana. J Agric Econ Res Rev 26(1):101–108Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kaumbutho P, Kienzle J (eds) 2007. Conservation agriculture as practiced in Kenya: two case studies. African conservation tillage network, Centre de Coopération Internationale de Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Birkas M, Jug D, Kisic I 2014 Book of soil tillage. Szent University Press, p 322. ISBN: 978-963-269-447-4Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jordan D, Stecker VN, Cacnio-Hubbard FL, Gantzer CJ, Brown JR (1997) Earthworm activity in no-tillage and conventional tillage systems in Missouri soils: a preliminary study. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. In: 5th international Symposium on Earthworm Ecology, May–April 1997, 29(3):489–491.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0038-0717(96)00038-7
  7. 7.
    Home Grown Cereal Authority, (HGCA) (2016) Wheat disease management guide. Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board 2016 (AHDB) and (HGCA). Retrieved on 8th August, 2016 from. https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/publications/2016/february/23/wheat-disease-management-guide.aspx
  8. 8.
    Karuma A, Mtakwa P, Amuri N, Gachene K, Gicheru P (2014) Enhancing soil water content for increased food production in semi-arid areas of Kenya: results from an on-farm trial in Mwala District, Kenya. J Agric Sci 6(4):125–134.  https://doi.org/10.5539/jas.v6n4p125 Accessed 03 Mar 2015Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Rockstrom J, Barron J, Fox P (2003) Water productivity in rain-fed agriculture: challenges and opportunities for smallholder farmers in drought prone tropical agroecosystem. CABI, IWMI, WallingfordGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Huho J, Ngaira J, Ogindo H, Masayi N (2012) The changing rainfall pattern and the associated impacts on subsistence agriculture in Laikipia East District in Kenya. J. Geogr. Reg. Plann 5(7):198–206.  https://doi.org/10.5897/JGRP12.018 Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kijne J, Barron J, Hoff H, Rockström J (2009) Opportunities to increase water productivity in agriculture with special reference to Africa and South Asia: report prepared by Stockholm Environment Institute, for Swedish Ministry of Environment presentation at CSD 16, New York 14 May 2009. Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, pp 1–48Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Chandna P, Hodson DP, Singh UP, Singh AN, Gosain AK, Sahoo RN, Gupta RK (2004) Increasing the productivity of underutilized lands by targeting resource conserving technologies-A GIS/remote sensing approach a case study of Ballia District, Uttar Pradesh , in the Eastern Gangetic Plains. CIMMYT, Mexico.D.FGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sen A. et al. 2014. Zero tillage, a boon for wheat in rice, wheat cropping system. www.bhu.ac.in/agriculture/zero_tillage.html. Accessed 9 Dec 2015
  14. 14.
    Rockstrom J, Kaumbutho P, Mwalley J, Nzabi AW et al (2009) Conservation farming strategies in East and Southern Africa: yields and rain water productivity from on-farm action research. Soil Tillage Res 103:23–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ojwang GO, Agatsiva J, Situma C (2010) Analysis of climate change and variability risks in the smallholder sector: case studies of the Laikipia and Narok Districts Representing Major Agro-ecological Zones in Kenya. FAO, Rome, pp 1–69Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Raes D, Sithole A, Makaru A, Millford J (2004) Evaluation of first planting dates recommended by criteria currently used in Zimbabwe. J Agric For Meteorol 125:177–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Raes D, Steduto P, Hsiao TC, Fereres E (2012) AquaCrop Reference manual (Version 4.0). Retrieved 2nd February, 2015 from http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquacrop.html
  18. 18.
    Steduto P, Hsiao TC, Fereres E, Raes D (2012) Crop yield response to water. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper No. 66. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Okalebo J, Gathua W, Woomer P (2002) Laboratory methods of soil analysis and plant analysis: a working manual. TBSF UNESCO. EPZ Publishers, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Saxton KE, Rawls WJ, Romberger JS, Papendick RI (1986) Estimating generalized soil-water characteristics from texture. Soil Sci Soc Am J 50(4):1031–1036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ghasemi A, Zahediasl S (2012) Normality tests for statistical analysis: a guide for non-statisticians. Int J Endocrinol Metab 10(2):486–489.  https://doi.org/10.5812/ijem.3505 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Chaghazardi HR, Jahansouz MR, Ahmadi A, Gorji M (2016) Effects of tillage management on productivity of wheat and chickpea under cold, rain-fed conditions in Western Iran. J Soil Tillage Res 162:26–33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2016.04.010 Elsevier B.VGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Araya T et al (2011) Effects of conservation agriculture on runoff, soil loss and crop yield under rain-fed conditions in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Soil Use Manag 27:404–414Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Araya T, Cornelis WM, Nyssen J, Govaerts B, Getnet F, Bauer H, Amare K, Raes D, Haile M, Deckers J (2012) Medium-term effects of conservation agriculture based cropping systems for sustainable soil and water management and crop productivity in the Ethiopian highlands. Field Crop Res 132:53–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Biosystems EngineeringUniversity of EldoretEldoretKenya
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Structural EngineeringMoi UniversityEldoretKenya
  3. 3.Department of Soil ScienceUniversity of EldoretEldoretKenya

Personalised recommendations