Soil water use efficiency under integrated soil management practices in the drylands of Kenya

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Date
2023
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Heliyon
Abstract
Soil moisture scarcity and soil fertility decline in the drylands contribute to declining crop productivity. The possible synergistic effects of integrating soil & water conservation, and soil fertility management practices on soil moisture, and hence water use efficiency (WUE) in the drylands of Tharaka-Nithi County in Kenya was assessed. The experiment was laid in a three by three split plot arrangement, with four replications, for four cropping seasons. Minimum tillage with mulch, tied ridges, and conventional tillage formed the main plot factors. The sub-plot factors included animal manure plus fertilizer at 120, 60, and 30 N kg ha−1. There was significant improvement in soil moisture by 35 and 28% by minimum tillage with mulch and tied ridges, respectively, compared to conventional tillage. Manure plus fertilizer rates of 120 and 60 N kg ha−1 had significantly lower soil moisture by 12 and 10%, respectively than the 30 N kg ha−1 across the seasons. The WUE was significantly enhanced by 150 and 65% under minimum tillage with mulch and tied ridges, respectively, compared to conventional tillage. Compared with 30 N kg ha−1, the 120 N kg ha−1 and 60 kg ha−1 significantly enhanced the WUE by 66 and 25%, respectively. Across the seasons, the best treatment combination for improving WUE was minimum tillage with mulch at 120 N kg ha−1 rate of manure plus fertilizer.
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Author Affiliation: University of Embu
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Citation
Oduor, N. O., Mucheru-Muna, M., Mugwe, N. J., Sijali, I., Nyabuga, G., & Mugendi, N. D. (2023). Soil water use efficiency under integrated soil management practices in the drylands of Kenya. Heliyon, 9(5). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e16145