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Evaluation of Conservation Tillage Techniques for Maize Production in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia

Bisrat Getnet
Laike Kebede
Hae Koo Kim


Conservation tillage as an approach to reduce surface runoff and soil degradation and reduced tillage systems may offer a compromise solution. The objective of the study is to test different conservation tillage techniques and evaluate the impacts of the system on conserving water, labor requirement for pre and post planting, soil physicochemical properties, plant growth and yield. The experiment was conducted in a semi-arid area in the central Rift Valley of Ethiopia during 2012 and 2013 cropping seasons. The different planting methods used as treatments were: ripping with manual planting, conventional tillage involving two passes with animal drawn moldboard plow, ripping once with ripping attached row planter, pitting and no-tillage with hand pushed jab planter were evaluated using Melkassa II maize variety. Results have been compared with conventional tillage involving two passes with animal drawn moldboard plow. Soil chemical properties monitored before and after tillage to a depth of 15cm though were not statistically significant. The study showed that the performance of ripping followed by manual planting tillage system was superior to the other four tillage treatments in tillage time, and weeding time, except the conventional tillage system. Ripping once and planting is a better in saving tillage time, avoiding delayed planting and drudgery to animals and human beings compared to reduced tillage system in areas where the rainfall pattern is erratic in nature as rift valley. It is also recommended that the right time of planting with uniform seed placement can be achieved if there is an efficient row planter that can be attached to the ripper.

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eISSN: 2415-2382
print ISSN: 0257-2605