The prospects of reduced tillage in tef (Eragrostis tef Zucca) in Gare Arera, West Shawa Zone of Oromiya, Ethiopia uri icon

abstract

  • Soils in Ethiopia are traditionally ploughed repeatedly with an oxen-drawn plough before sowing. The oxen ploughing system exposes the soil to erosion and is expensive for farmers without oxen. This study was undertaken to assess agronomic and economic impacts of alternative, reduced tillage methods. Field experiments were carried out on a Vertisol and a Nitisol for 2 years to study the effect of zero tillage, minimum tillage, conventional tillage, and broad bed furrows (BBF) on the yield of tef (Eragrostis tef Zucca). No significant differences in tef biomass and grain yields were observed between the treatments on both soils in the first year. In Nitisol in the second year, yield was lower in the zero tillage treatment as compared to the other treatments. No difference in yield was observed between single plough, conventional, and BBF. On Vertisol, the yields were higher in BBF as compared to the other treatments. The yields on Vertisol were 1368, 1520, 1560 and 1768 kg ha(-1) for the zero tillage, minimum tillage, conventional tillage and BBF treatments respectively. More than twice as much grass weed was observed on zero tillage treatment as compared to the BBF treatment on both soils. Zero tillage gave the lowest gross margin on both soils whereas BBF gave the highest gross margin. The gross margin on Nitisols for the zero tillage and BBF treatments were -108 and 1504 Birr/ha respectively and corresponding numbers for the Vertisol were 520 and 1924 Birr ha(-1). On Vertisol there were no significant difference in gross margin between minimum tillage and conventional tillage. Minimum tillage is an interesting option on Vertisols, particularly for female-headed households as it reduces the tillage cost. It may also improve overall productivity of the farming system because it allows partial replacement of oxen with cows and reduces soil erosion. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2008
  • 2008