Integrated water and nutrient management for sorghum production in semi-arid Burkina Faso

R. Zougmoré

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Loss of water and nutrients through runoff are major agriculture problems for inherent poor fertile soils in semiarid West Africa. The intensification of crop production requires an integration of soil, water and nutrient management that is locally acceptable and beneficial for smallholder farmers. To that end, two semi-permeable soil and water conservation measures (stone rows, grass strips) and two nitrogen inputs (compost, urea) applied alone or in combination were studied on the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso. Stone rows greatly reduce runoff, soil erosion and improve soil moisture. Under unfertilised continuous sorghum cropping, stone rows induced limited effect on soil fertility improvement. During erratic rainfall years in the Sahelian zone, stone rows alone doubled sorghum yield compared to plots without stone rows and therefore, can reduce risks of crop failure. During well-distributed rainfall years, stone rows alone did not induce significant yield increase. Grass strips of Andropogon gayanus was also an efficient anti-erosion measure and could be an interesting alternative to stone rows, especially in stone-limiting areas. However, Andropogon grass must be managed properly to alleviate shading and other effects of competition on crops near to the strips. The sole applications of compost or urea improved nutrient uptake and crop biomass production that subsequently demands more available water for transpiration. Combining stone rows or grass strips with compost in intensified crop production systems resulted into substantial crop yields and economic benefits. This integrated water and nutrient management may help to alleviate poverty and may empower smallholder farmers to invest in soil management for better crop production in West Africa.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Stroosnijder, Leo, Promotor
Award date25 Nov 2003
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs9789058089069
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • crop production
  • sorghum
  • nutrient availability
  • semiarid zones
  • burkina faso
  • integrated water management

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