Title: Effects of conservation agriculture on runoff, soil loss and crop yield under rain fed conditions in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia
Authors: Tesfay, Araya ×
Cornelis, W.M.
Nyssen, Jan
Govaerts, B
Bauer, Hans
Tewodros, Gebregziabher
Tigist, Oicha
Raes, Dirk
Sayre, K.D.
Mitiku, Haile
Deckers, Seppe #
Issue Date: Sep-2011
Publisher: Published for the British Society of Soil Science by Blackwell Scientific Publications
Series Title: Soil Use and Management vol:27 issue:3 pages:404-414
Abstract: The aim of conservation agriculture (CA) is to improve soil quality and crop yield whilst reducing
runoff and topsoil erosion. An experiment was carried out in a rainfed field using a permanent raised
bed planting system for 3 yr (2005–2007) in Adigudem, northern Ethiopia in order to evaluate the
effect of CA on runoff, soil loss and crop yield. CA practices were introduced in fields with Vertisols in
a randomized complete block design on permanent 5 · 19 m plots. Three treatments were evaluated:
(1) conventional tillage (CT) with a minimum of three tillage operations and removal of crop residues,
(2) terwah (TER) that was similar to CT except that contour furrows were included at 1.5 m intervals,
and (3) derdero+ (DER+), which consists of permanent raised beds with a furrow and bed system,
retention of 30% of standing crop residues and zero tillage on the top of the bed. All ploughing as well
as the maintenance of the furrows of the permanent raised beds was done using a local ard plough
called maresha. Results from monitoring over 3 yr showed that soil loss and runoff were significantly
higher (P < 0.05) in CT followed by TER and DER+. Average soil losses of 5.2, 20.1 and 24.2 t ⁄ ha
were recorded from DER+, TER and CT, respectively. Runoff was 46.3, 76.3 and 98.1 mm from
DER+, TER and CT, respectively. Grain yield was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in DER+ under
teff in 2006, probably due to the high sensitivity of teff to weeds. The yield of wheat in 2007 was
significantly higher in DER+ followed by TER. The terwah system is recommended as a first measure
for wider adoption to reduce runoff and soil loss and to increase crop yield. The long-term goal is to
achieve a derdero+ system, i.e. a permanent raised bed planting system along with the application of
crop residues.
ISSN: 0266-0032
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Division Soil and Water Management
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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