Impact of tillage and fertility management options on selected soil physical properties and sorghum yield
Water and soil fertility are the most limiting biophysical factors affecting crop production in semi-arid West Africa. . This study was conducted in Nadion (south Sudan zone of Burkina Faso) to assess the impact of tillage practices (no-till, tied ridging; ripping and conventional tillage) combined with soil fertility management options (compost, NPK + Urea, crop residues, Compost+ NPK + Urea and a control) on soil moisture content and sorghum yield. The soil moisture was monitored weekly using the Time Domain Reflectometer (TDR) method and the soil bulk density was evaluated 30 days after planting. Zero tillage increased the soil water storage capacity compared to the other tillage practices at 0-30 cm depth. Sorghum straw residues application improved soil water content by 20%. Conventional tillage decreased surface soil (0-10 cm) bulk density. Compost + NPK + Urea application increased sorghum yield by 74% over the control while, NPK + urea and compost increased sorghum grain yield by 50% and 29%, respectively relative to the control (no soil amendment). Conventional tillage led to decrease in yield compared to zero tillage after two years of experimentation. The zero tillage combined with compost, NPK and urea increased sorghum yield by 28% compared to tied-ridging regardless of the fertility management options. Zero tillage is a promising option for sorghum production in the South Sudan agro-ecological zone of Burkina Faso.
Keywords: Bulk density, fertility management, sorghum yield, South Sudan zone, tillage, water conservation.
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