African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6862

Full Length Research Paper

Soil moisture content and maize grain yield under conventional and conservation agriculture practices - results of short term field tests in Liselo, Namibia

L. P. Kudumo
  • L. P. Kudumo
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR), Directorate of Agricultural Production, Extension and Engineering Services (DAPEES), Namibia, Private Bag 13184, Windhoek, Namibia.
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F. Itanna
  • F. Itanna
  • Department of Soil Science and Resource Conservation, National University of Lesotho, P. O. Roma 180, Maseru, Roma, Lesotho.
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C. Thierfelder
  • C. Thierfelder
  • International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, (CIMMYT) Zimbabwe, P. O. Box MP 163, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe.
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J. Kambatuku
  • J. Kambatuku
  • Faculty of Agriculture, Engineering and Natural Sciences, University of Namibia, Ogongo Campus P Bag 5520, Oshakati, Namibia.
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  •  Received: 23 January 2023
  •  Accepted: 10 March 2023
  •  Published: 30 September 2023

Abstract

This article focuses on the results from trials developed to monitor the short-term effects of conventionally tilled systems versus CA on soil quality and crop productivity under conditions of the major cropping systems in central, north-central and north-eastern regions of Namibia. Conventional tillage (CT), Minimum tillage (MT), Minimum tillage, mulch (MT-M), Minimum tillage, rotation (MT-R) and Minimum tillage, mulch and rotation (MT-MR) were the primary treatments tested. Significant differences (p≤0.000) among the treatments were observed in the 0-60 cm soil profiles where MT-M plots had the highest soil moisture content (39.8 mm, Standard Error of Mean 0.2815) over the study period. A significant difference (p=0.0206) in grain yield was observed in the second season with CT plots yielding the highest grain yield (3852.3 kg ha-1, standard error of mean 240.35). Results suggest that CA has the potential to increase water conservation and contribute to reduction of the risk of crop failure. Climate change driven degradation under conventional tillage necessitate alternative sustainable tillage methods. Conservation tillage methods and conservation agricultural practices that minimize soil disturbance while maintaining soil cover need to be adopted more locally as viable alternatives to conventional tillage.

Key words: Conservation agriculture, conventional tillage, grain yield, soil moisture content.