Combined effects of Stylosanthesguianensisfallow and tillage management on upland rice yield, weeds and soils in southern Benin uri icon

abstract

  • Intensifying upland rice cultivation has resulted in increased weed pressure and declining soil fertility and rice yield in West Africa. Integrated crop management technologies are needed for enhancing rice productivity. A field experiment was conducted from 2006 to 2008 in a TypicHaplustult soil in southern Benin to identify the optimal seeding date of stylo relay-cropped into upland rice, and to evaluate the effects of fallow treatment and tillage management on rice yield, weed biomass and soil properties. Stylosanthesguianensis(stylo), a legume species, was used as a short-term fallow crop. Rice was grown once each year and stylo was seeded during the wet season and grown until the next rice-growing season. The effects of fallow treatment and tillage management (no-tillage vs. manual-tillage) on weed biomass during the rice-growing season were evaluated in 2007 and 2008, whereas the effects on rice yield were examined in 2007 alone. Results indicated that stylo can be established as a relay crop withupland rice about 10 days after rice seeding. Stylo fallow reduced weed biomass by 71% and 95% and increased total biomass (weed + stylo + litter) by 594% and 107% at the end of the dry seasons in 2007 and 2008, respectively. No-tillage without stylo fallow increased weed biomass by 62–202% over manual-tillage during the rice-growing seasons, whereas stylo fallow reduced weed biomass by 45–83% and 11–36%, respectively, under no-tillage and manual-tillage management. There were no significant effects of fallow treatment and tillagemanagement on soil organic C, total N, inorganic N and extractable P. Rice yields following stylofallowwere 0.7 Mg ha_1 higher than after the natural fallow. Manual-tillage increased rice yield by 0.6 Mg ha_1 over no-tillage. Manual-tillage combined with stylo fallow can be recommended to smallholder farmers for improving upland rice productivity

publication date

  • 2012