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Evaluating maize performance under varying water depletion levels in bura irrigation scheme, Kenya

David Kimani Muigai, Richard N Onwonga, George N Karuku, Abdullahi Mohammed

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Int. J. Agron. Agri. Res.18(1), 19-29, January 2021


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Sufficient soil moisture in the root zone is critical for optimal crop development. Excess or deficit water leads to reduced crop growth and yields. A field study was done to determine the effect of available water on performance of PH4 maize variety on sandy clay loam soil at Bura Irrigation Scheme, eastern Kenya. Three water depletion level treatments T75, T50 and T25 laid in Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) were used during 2015 long rain (March to June) and 2016 short rain (October to December) seasons. Irrigation was undertaken when 25% (T75), 50% (T50) and 75% (T25) of available water capacity (AWC) was depleted, respectively. Canopy cover, above ground biomass and grain yield was used as indicators of maize performance. Treatments T75 and T50 had no significance difference among them but both had significantly (P ≤ 0.05) higher above ground biomass, canopy cover, stover and grain yield compared to T25. Maize performance showed a positive linear relationship with the quantity of irrigation water applied up to a certain optimal quantity. Additional irrigation water used in T75 treatment gave slightly higher yields though statistically insignificant compared to T50 treatment. Higher Water Use Efficiency (WUE) was recorded in T75 than T50. Supplemental irrigation at 50% AWC is recommended for the scheme as it gives high yields and is safe on water compared to T75.


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