Role of nutrient amendments in the success of half-moon soil and water conservation practice in semiarid Burkina Faso

R. Zougmoré, N.F. Kambou, Z. Zida

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43 Citations (Scopus)


The half-moon technique has been recently introduced in northern Burkina Faso as a method for the rehabilitation of sealed and crusted bare soils locally called zipellé. As this technique, like zaï and mulching practices, interested many farmers, a trial was conducted to study the effect on soil productivity of half-moon technique in association with different sources of nutrients. The experimental design consisted of treatments in which the half-moon was combined with organic or mineral fertilisers. The soil was a Ferric Lixisol with a rooting depth of 30 cm, low contents of organic matter (12 g kg-1), nitrogen (0.6 g kg-1) and available phosphorus (6.6 mg kg-1). Applying compost or animal manure allowed yields from 900 to 1600 kg ha-1 of sorghum grain, i.e. 20-39 times the yield obtained in the half-moon treatment without any amendment. Combining local rock phosphate to compost in the half-moon basins increased sorghum grain yield by 10% the first year and 26% the second year. This study showed that restoring favourable soil moisture conditions by breaking up the surface crust to improve water infiltration was not enough to improve sorghum production on the degraded zipellé. Removal of the water constraint by destroying the surface hard pan revealed the second major constraint, i.e. soil acidity and nutrient deficiency. Well-decomposed organic matter such as animal manure and compost supplied in the half-moons were good substrates that provided sorghum with the nutrients required for growth. Moreover, adding local rock phosphate to compost appeared to be an alternative for improving soil productivity. It is concluded that in the Sahelian zone, half-moon technique with appropriate nutrient management could be an effective method for the rehabilitation of degraded soil productivity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-149
JournalSoil & Tillage Research
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • organic-matter
  • sandy soil
  • zai
  • classification
  • system

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