Effect of tillage practices on soil fertility

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Research Paper 01/08/2014
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Effect of tillage practices on soil fertility

Tindjina I, Aikins S, Tengan KML
J. Bio. Env. Sci.5( 2), 181-191, August 2014.
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Abstract

Food security depends on sustainable agriculture. Sustainability hinges on the efficient and judicious use of land and soil resources. This study sought to assess the effect of tillage practices on the fertility of the soil. The tillage practices assessed were 1. Tractor plough topsoil (TpT) 2. Tractor plough subsoil (TpS) 3. Bullock plough topsoil (BpT) 4. Bullock plough subsoil (BpS) 5. Hands hoeing topsoil (HpT) 6. Hands hoeing subsoil (HpS) 7. Zero tillage topsoil (ZpT) 8. Zero tillage subsoil (ZpS) 9. Fallow land topsoil (FlT) and 10. Fallow land subsoil (FlS). The study consisted of two components namely: a survey and soil nutrient analysis. ANOVA was used to analyze the results using the GENSTAT statistical package whilst treatment means were compared using Duncan’s Multiple Range Test (DMRT) at P=0.05. Survey indicated that 80 % of the respondents did not know of the effects of their tillage practices on soil fertility. Forty four percent, 33 % and 23 % of them indicated use of fallow system, crop residues and crop rotation as the way forward for maintaining soil fertility respectively. There were significant differences (P<0.05) with regards to total exchangeable bases and effective cation exchange capacity between fallow land topsoil and the rest of the tillage practices with the former showing superiority. Yield of maize per acre also indicated a significant difference between hands hoed and zero tillage with zero tillage being superior. However, bulk density, organic matter, total nitrogen and available phosphorus did not show any significant differences among and between the tillage practices (P> 0.05).

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