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Soil moisture management and fertilizer micro-dosing on yield and land utilization efficiency of inter-cropping maize-pigeon-pea in sub humid Tanzania

Author:
Saidia, Paul S., Asch, Folkard, Kimaro, Anthony A., Germer, Jorn, Kahimba, Frederick C., Graef, Frieder, Semoka, Johnson M.R., Rweyemamu, Cornel L.
Source:
Agricultural water management 2019 v.223 pp. 105712
ISSN:
0378-3774
Subject:
corn, crop yield, experimental design, fertilizer application, field experimentation, food availability, humid tropics, income, intercropping, land use, nitrogen, peas, phosphorus fertilizers, pigeon peas, rain, sandy loam soils, small-scale farming, soil fertility, soil water, sole cropping, water harvesting, water stress, Tanzania
Abstract:
Principally caused by soil water stress and declining soil fertility, low crop productivity results in both food and income insecurity. The effects of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer micro-dosing with inter-row rainwater harvesting practices for maize and pigeon-pea inter-cropping on yield and land use efficiency are inadequately documented in sub humid tropics. A field experiment on sandy loam soils in sub humid conditions using a split-split plot design was conducted. Plots used in situ rainwater harvesting practices of tied ridges, open ridges, and flat cultivation. Sub-plots were sole maize, sole pigeon-pea, and 1:1 maize-pigeon pea inter-cropping. The sub-sub plots were control, fertilizer (N and P) application at the micro-dose level, and recommended rates. Tied ridges significantly (p < 0.001) conserved more soil moisture than flat cultivation at 30 cm depth after ten days of rainfall. Ridges increased maize yield by 0.3 t ha−1 over flat cultivation. Fertilizer application significantly (p < 0.001) increased maize yield by 1.12 t ha−1 with micro-dosing and by 1.60 t ha−1 with recommended rates over the control. Combining tied ridges and fertilizer significantly (p < 0.040) increased maize yield by 132–156% compared to flat cultivation without fertilizer. Reflecting a land equivalent ratio, land use efficiency was 67–122% higher in inter-cropping than sole crop. Tied ridges conserved more soil moisture than flat cultivation, enhancing fertilizer use efficiency that improved crop yields and land equivalent ratio under inter-cropping. This strategy could increase food availability and income generation under smallholder farming systems in sub-humid tropic areas.
Agid:
6548195