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Restoring cropland productivity and profitability in northern Ethiopian drylands after nine years of resource-conserving agriculture

(2016) EXPERIMENTAL AGRICULTURE. 52(2). p.165-187
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VLIR IUC MU
Abstract
Long-term in situ soil and water conservation experiments are rare in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Eastern Africa. A long-termexperiment was conducted (2005–2013) on aVertisol to quantify the impacts of resource-conserving agriculture (RCA) on runoff, soil loss, soil fertility and crop productivity and economic profitability in northern Ethiopia. Two RCA practices were developed from traditional furrow tillage practices: (i) derdero+ (DER+) and terwah+ (TER+). DER+ is a furrow and permanent raised bed planting system, tilled once at planting time by refreshing the furrow and 30% of crop residue is retained. TER+ is ploughed once at planting, furrows are made at 1.5 m intervals and 30% crop residue is retained. The third treatment was a conventional tillage (CT) with a minimum of three tillage operations and complete removal of crop residues. Wheat, teff, barley and grass pea crops were grown in rotation. Runoff, and soil and nutrient loss were measured in plastic sheet-lined collector trenches. Significantly different (P < 0.05) runoff coefficients (%) and soil losses (t ha−1) averaged over 9 yrs were 14 and 3, 22 and 11 and 30 and 17 for DER+, TER+ and CT, respectively. Significant improvements in crop yield and gross margin were observed after a period of three years of cropping This study demonstrated that RCA systems in semi-arid agro-ecosystems constitute a field rainwater conservation and soil fertility improvement strategy that enhances crop productivity and economic profitability. Adoption of RCA systems (DER+ and TER+) in the study area requires further work to improve smallholder farmers’ awareness on benefits, to guarantee high standards during implementation and to design appropriate weed management strategies.
Keywords
Ethiopia, conservation agriculture, productivity, CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE, LAND MANAGEMENT, TILLAGE, HIGHLANDS, EFFICIENCY, AFRICA

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Araya Weldeslassie, Tesfay, Jan Nyssen, Bram Govaerts, Frédéric Baudron, Louise Carpentier, Hans Bauwer, Sil Lanckriet, Jozef Deckers, and Wim Cornelis. 2016. “Restoring Cropland Productivity and Profitability in Northern Ethiopian Drylands After Nine Years of Resource-conserving Agriculture.” Experimental Agriculture 52 (2): 165–187.
APA
Araya Weldeslassie, T., Nyssen, J., Govaerts, B., Baudron, F., Carpentier, L., Bauwer, H., Lanckriet, S., et al. (2016). Restoring cropland productivity and profitability in northern Ethiopian drylands after nine years of resource-conserving agriculture. EXPERIMENTAL AGRICULTURE, 52(2), 165–187.
Vancouver
1.
Araya Weldeslassie T, Nyssen J, Govaerts B, Baudron F, Carpentier L, Bauwer H, et al. Restoring cropland productivity and profitability in northern Ethiopian drylands after nine years of resource-conserving agriculture. EXPERIMENTAL AGRICULTURE. 2016;52(2):165–87.
MLA
Araya Weldeslassie, Tesfay, Jan Nyssen, Bram Govaerts, et al. “Restoring Cropland Productivity and Profitability in Northern Ethiopian Drylands After Nine Years of Resource-conserving Agriculture.” EXPERIMENTAL AGRICULTURE 52.2 (2016): 165–187. Print.
@article{5832758,
  abstract     = {Long-term in situ soil and water conservation experiments are rare in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Eastern Africa. A long-termexperiment was conducted (2005--2013) on aVertisol to quantify the impacts of resource-conserving agriculture (RCA) on runoff, soil loss, soil fertility and crop productivity and economic profitability in northern Ethiopia. Two RCA practices were developed from traditional furrow tillage practices: (i) derdero+ (DER+) and terwah+ (TER+). DER+ is a furrow and permanent raised bed planting system, tilled once at planting time by refreshing the furrow and 30\% of crop residue is retained. TER+ is ploughed once at planting, furrows are made at 1.5 m intervals and 30\% crop residue is retained. The third treatment was a conventional tillage (CT) with a minimum of three tillage operations and complete removal of crop residues. Wheat, teff, barley and grass pea crops were grown in rotation. Runoff, and soil and nutrient loss were measured in plastic sheet-lined collector trenches. Significantly different (P {\textlangle} 0.05) runoff coefficients (\%) and soil losses (t ha\ensuremath{-}1) averaged over 9 yrs were 14 and 3, 22 and 11 and 30 and 17 for DER+, TER+ and CT, respectively. Significant improvements in crop yield and gross margin were observed after a period of three years of cropping This study demonstrated that RCA systems in semi-arid agro-ecosystems constitute a field rainwater conservation and soil fertility improvement strategy that enhances crop productivity and economic profitability. Adoption of RCA systems (DER+ and TER+) in the study area requires further work to improve smallholder farmers{\textquoteright} awareness on benefits, to guarantee high standards during implementation and to design appropriate weed management strategies.},
  author       = {Araya Weldeslassie, Tesfay and Nyssen, Jan and Govaerts, Bram and Baudron, Fr{\'e}d{\'e}ric and Carpentier, Louise and Bauwer, Hans and Lanckriet, Sil and Deckers, Jozef and Cornelis, Wim},
  issn         = {0014-4797},
  journal      = {EXPERIMENTAL AGRICULTURE},
  keyword      = {Ethiopia,conservation agriculture,productivity,CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE,LAND MANAGEMENT,TILLAGE,HIGHLANDS,EFFICIENCY,AFRICA},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {165--187},
  title        = {Restoring cropland productivity and profitability in northern Ethiopian drylands after nine years of resource-conserving agriculture},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S001447971400060X},
  volume       = {52},
  year         = {2016},
}

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