Effect of combined water and nutrient management on runoff and sorghum yield in semi-arid Burkina Faso

R. Zougmoré, A. Mando, J. Ringersma, L. Stroosnijder

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35 Citations (Scopus)


In the semiarid regions of sub-Saharan Africa, fertilizer recovery and nutrient release from organic sources are often moisture limited. Moreover, in these regions runoff brings about large nutrient losses from fertilizer or organic inputs. This study was conducted in the north sudanian climate zone of Burkina Faso (annual rainfall 800 mm, PET 2000 mm yr-1). We assessed the combined and interactive effects of two types of permeable barriers (stone rows and grass strips of Andropogon gayanus Kunth cv. Bisquamulatus (Hochst.) Hack.) and organic or mineral sources of nitrogen on erosion control and sorghum yield. The field experiment (Ferric Lixisol, 1.5% slope) was carried out during three rainy seasons and consisted of 2 replications of 9 treatments, in which the barriers were put along contours and combined with compost, manure and fertilizer nitrogen (N). Compared with the control plots, the average reduction in runoff was 59% in plots with barriers alone, but reached 67% in plots with barriers + mineral N and 84% in plots with barriers + organic N. On average, stone rows reduced soil erosion more than grass strips (66% versus 51%). Stone rows or grass strips without N input did not induce a significant increase of sorghum production. Supplying compost or manure in combination with stone rows or grass strips increased sorghum grain yield by about 142%, compared with a 65% increase due to mineral fertilizers. The sorghum grain yields at 1m upslope from the grass strips were less than those 17m from the grass strips. As stones do not compete with plants, the opposite trend was observed with stone rows. We conclude that for these nutrient depleted soils, permeable barriers improve nutrient use efficiency and therefore crop production. However, grass strips must be managed to alleviate shade and other negative effects of the bunds on adjacent crops.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-264
JournalSoil Use and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • millet-cowpea intercrop
  • on-farm evaluation
  • west-africa
  • stone lines
  • soil
  • fertility
  • options
  • erosion
  • system
  • sahel


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