Effect of in situ moisture conservation techniques on yield and water use efficiency of pearl millet in Makueni, Kenya

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Research Paper 01/06/2018
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Effect of in situ moisture conservation techniques on yield and water use efficiency of pearl millet in Makueni, Kenya

P. M. Mutiso, J. M. Kinama, C. Onyango
Int. J. Agron. Agri. Res.12( 6), 186-196, June 2018.
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Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.) production in semi-arid areas of Kenya is constrained mainly by moisture deficit. A field study was conducted in Makueni, Kenya during the 2014 short and long rainy seasons to determine the effect of in situ moisture conservation techniques on yield and water use efficiency of pearl millet. Treatments comprised of basin technique, tied ridge technique and flat technique as the control. Soil moisture content was monitored and analyzed gravimetrically throughout the growing season at 2 weeks interval. Pearl millet yield parameters (panicle number, panicle weight and grain and stover yields) were assessed at physiological maturity using standard procedures. Harvest index was determined as a ratio of grain yield to total aboveground biomass. Pearl millet water consumption and water use efficiency were estimated using water balance equation. Soil moisture content varied significantly (p < 0.05) between the treatments and was consistently highest in tied ridge and lowest in control. Tied ridge technique increased pearl millet grain yields by up to 262kg ha-1 and stover yield by a maximum of 638kg ha-1over control. Tied ridge recorded the highest water use of 167.2mm in 2014 short rains and 177.6mm in 2014 long rains. Highest pearl millet water use efficiency of 3.99kg ha-1mm-1 was recorded in tied ridge indicating higher resource utilization efficiency of this technique. These results assert the potential use of tied ridge in improving yield and water use efficiency of pearl millet in semi-arid areas.


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