Socio-ecological Niches for Minimum Tillage and Crop-residue Retention in Continuous Maize Cropping Systems in Smallholder Farms of Central Kenya

S.N. Guto, P. Pypers, B. Vanlauwe, N. de Ridder, K.E. Giller

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19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Soil fertility gradients develop on smallholder farms due to preferential allocation of inputs. A multi-location on-farm trial was conducted in Meru South, Central Kenya whose overall aim was to test minimum tillage and crop-residue retention practices in socio-ecological niches across heterogeneous smallholder farms. We identified three soil fertility classes together with the farmers, namely: good, medium, and poor. In each soil fertility class, two tillage (minimum or regular) and two crop residue (removed or retained) practices were tested for four consecutive seasons. Maize (Zea mays L.) grain yields in the good fields were above 2.5 Mg ha-1 across cropping seasons and cumulated yields were not influenced by tillage or crop residue management. The grain yields in the medium fields ranged between 1.3 and 5.4 Mg ha-1 and were greater with crop residue retention. In the poor fields, grain yield was
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-198
JournalAgronomy Journal
Volume104
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • soil fertility gradients
  • conservation agriculture
  • organic-matter
  • semiarid environment
  • water conservation
  • western kenya
  • cover crops
  • management
  • tropics
  • africa

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