Influence of planting basins on selected soil quality parameters and sorghum yield along an agro-ecological gradient in South Eastern Zimbabwe

  • R. Marumbi Dept. of Soil Science Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe
  • P. Nyamugafata Dept. of Soil Science Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe
  • M. Wuta Dept. of Soil Science Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe
  • P. Tittonell National Council for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET), Godoy Cruz 2290, (C1425FQB), Buenos Aires
  • E. Torquebiau CIRAD TAB 102/02, 34398 Montpellier CX5
Keywords: Planting basins, Soil and water conservation, Soil quality, Sorghum, Agro-ecological

Abstract

Planting basins are an important soil and water conservation technology. This study evaluated the effects of basins on soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks, aggregate stability (Ima), bulk density, soil moisture retention and sorghum yield in agro-ecological regions III, IV and V of Chipinge district. The experiment consisted of three treatments; namely planting basins (basins) with goat manure and inorganic fertilizer application, hand hoeing with similar fertility amendments (FP+) and hand hoeing without fertility amendments (FP). It was hypothesized that planting basins with fertility amendments would improve the selected soil quality parameters and sorghum yield. Only planting basins significantly (p˂0.05) improved soil quality parameters in the 0-15 cm depth and bulk density, Ima, SOC stocks ranged from 1356 to 1451 kg/m3; 314 to 450 and 14.18 to 25.55 Mg ha-1 respectively. Planting basins significantly increased (p<0.05) sorghum yield relative to hand-hoeing practices (FP+ and FP) with average grain yield of 2.68, 1.72 and 1.32 t ha-1 in agro-ecological regions III, IV and V, respectively. When compared to FP+ and FP, basins increased grain yield by >130% in all the 3 agro-ecological regions. The hypothesis was accepted and it was concluded that basins improve soil properties and sorghum grain yield in agro-ecological regions III, IV and V. Considering the soil and crop productivity benefits highlighted in this study, there is a strong justification for the widespread promotion and adoption of planting basins in semi-arid agro-ecological regions of Zimbabwe.

Published
2020-08-28
Section
Articles

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eISSN: 1819-3692