Risks associated with dry soil planting time in Ethiopia

Paper Details

Research Paper 01/04/2015
Views (195) Download (6)

Risks associated with dry soil planting time in Ethiopia

M. Feyera Liben, S. Charles Wortmann, T. Kindie Fantaye
Int. J. Agron. Agri. Res.6( 4), 14-23, April 2015.
Certificate: IJAAR 2015 [Generate Certificate]


Dry soil planting is practiced in response to variable rainfall onset in Ethiopia to maximize use of the full season. Rainfall data of >30 years for seven locations were used to evaluate dry soil planting opportunities on Vertisols. Three rainfall related risks were evaluated: (i) seed lies in dry soil without imbibing water for >20 days (Risk I); (ii) rainfall causes germination but fails to support growth and many seedlings die (Risk II); and (iii) when planting is delayed until after onset of rains by not dry soil planting sorghum or maize and because the fields are too wet to prepare and plant (Risk III). Risk I and II are associated with potential failure of dry soil planting while Risk III is associated with negative consequences of not dry soil planting. Mean probabilities of occurrence of risks associated with dry soil planting were, respectively: ≥50% and ≤30% for Risk I in 25% and 56% of the timeframe; ≥50% and ≤30% for Risk II in 35% and 22% of the timeframe; and ≤30% for Risk III in 90% of the timeframe. The cumulative value of the three risk types were represented by two risk indexes. Dry soil planting was found to have a high probability of success, even when done before the expected onset of rainfall for several locations. Farmers cannot avoid all risk types and risks occur with wet soil planting as well. Guidelines to timeliness of dry soil planting for early crop establishment were developed for each location.


Adger WN, Agrawa S, Mirza MMQ, Conde C, O‘Brien K, Puhlin J, Pulwarty R, Smit B,Takahashi K. 2007. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, and Hanson CE, ed. Assessment of adaptation practices, options, constraints and capacity. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 717-743.

Agriculture in Ethiopia. http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_E thiopia Accessed on Dec 30 2014.

Allen RG, Pereira LS, Raes D, Smith M. 1998. Crop evapotranspiration: guidelines for computing crop water requirements. Irrigation and Drainage Paper No. 56, Rome Italy: FAO.

Bekele F. 2000. Ethiopian use of ENSO information for its seasonal forecast. National Meteorological Services Agency, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Conway D, Schipper ELF. 2011. Adaptation to climate change in Africa: Challenges and opportunities identified from Ethiopia. Global Environ. Change 21, 227-237.

Dorenboos J, Kassam AH. 1979. Yield response to water. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper No. 33, FAO, Rome Italy.

Fujisaka S, Wortmann C, Habatmu A. 1996. Resource poor farmers with complex technical knowledge in high risk system in Ethiopia:Can research help? J. Farm. Syst. Res. Ext. 6, 1-14.

Gadgil S, Seshagiri PR, Sridhar S. 1998. Modeling impacts of climate variability on rainfed groundnut. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. 11 p.

Habtamu A. 2004. Assessing the impacts of rainfall behavior and water supply on alternative maize (Zea mays L) production scenarios in Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. MSc Thesis, Haramaya University. Accessed on June 11, 2014. http://www.kasetsartjournal.ku.ac.th/kuj_files/2009/pdf

ICRA. 1999. Livelihoods and drought coping strategies of households in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. Challenges for the agricultural research. Working Document Series No. 73.

INSTAT+ Climatic Guide. 2001. The Analysis of Climatic Data. Statistical Services Center, the University of Reading, Whiteknights, Berkshire.

Kipkorir EC, Raes D, Bargerei RJ, Mugalvia EM. 2007. Evaluation of two risk assessment methods for planting maize in Kenya. Agric. For. Meteorol. 144, 193-199.

Lansigan FP. 2000. Coping with seasonal climate variability in crop production: Applying systems research tools in agribusiness enterprise. Institute of Statistics (INSTAT), University of the Philippines Los Banos. Laguna, Philippines. 36 p.

Mamo G. 2005. Using seasonal climate outlook to advice on sorghum production in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. PhD thesis, Blomefontein, Republic of South Africa.

McCown RI, Wafula BM, Mohammed L, Ryan JG, Hargraeves JNG. 1991. Pp 383-410. In Muchow, R.C. and Bellamy, J.A. (ed) Assessing the value of a seasonal rainfall forecast to agronomic decisions: The case of response farming in Kenya. Proc. Internat. Symp. Climatic Risk in Crop Production: Models and Management for the Semi-arid Tropics. CSIRO, Brisbane, Australia, 2-6 July, 1990.

Merga F. 2013. Evaluating risks associated with dry soil planting of sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] and maize (Zea mays L.) at different depths in less predictable onset of rain in the central rift valley, Ethiopia. MSc thesis, Haramaya University, Ethiopia.

Merga F, Tesfaye K, Wortmann CS. 2014. Dry soil planting of sorghum for Vertisols of Ethiopia. Agron. J. 106, 469–474.

Mitiku H, Kidane G. 1994. Soil and water conservation in the semi-arid areas of Ethiopia. pp. 62-68. Proceeding of the First National Workshop on Dryland Farming Research in Ethiopia. Nazret, Ethiopia, 26-28 November, Institute of Agricultural Research.

Raman CVR. 1974. Analysis of commencement of monsoon rains over Maharashtra State for agricultural planning. Scientific Report 216, India Meteorological Department, Poona.

Rosell S. 2011. Regional perspective on rainfall change and variability in the central highlands of Ethiopia, 1978–2007. Appli. Geogr. 31, 329–338.

Seleshi Y, Zanke U. 2004. Recent changes in rainfall and rainy days in Ethiopia. Int. J. Climatol. 24, 973–983.

Stewart JI. 1991. Principles and performance of response farming. Pp 361-382. In Muchawo, R.C. and Bellamy, J.A. (ed) Proc. Internat. Symp. on Climatic Risk in Crop Production: Models and Management for the Semi-Arid Tropics and Sub-Tropics. CSIRO, Brisbane, Australia, 2-6 July, 1990.

Stewart JI, Faught WA. 1984. Response farming of maize and beans at Katumani, Machakos District, Kenya: Recommendations, yield expectations and economic benefits. E. Afr. Agric. For. J. 44, 29-51.

Tukey JW. 1977. Exploratory Data Analysis. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Van de Steeg J, Herrero M, Kinyangi J, Thornton PK, Rao KPC, Stern R,Cooper P. 2009. The Influence of Climate Variability and Climate Change on the Agricultural Sector in East and Central Africa: Sensitizing the ASARECA Strategic Plan to Climate Change. Nairobi, Kenya: International Livestock Research Institute.

Vergni L, Todisco F. 2011. Spatio-temporal variability of precipitation, temperature and agricultural drought indices in central Italy. Agric. For. Meteorol. 151, 301–313.

Vermeulen SJ, Challinor AJ, Thornton PK, Campbell BM, Eriyagama N, Vervoort JM, Kinyangi J, Jarvis A, Laderach P, Ramirez-Villegas J. 2013. Addressing uncertainty in adaptation planning for agriculture. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 110, 8357-8362.