Dry Soil Planting of Maize for Variable Onset of Rainfall in Ethiopia
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Farmers in water-limited environments of the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia (CRVE) practice dry soil planting of maize (Zea mays L.) on Vertisols in response to variable onset of rainfall and because of the difficulties of working on these soils when wet. However, little information is available for improving this practice. Therefore the effect of dry soil planting depth for two maize cultivars was evaluated on Vertisols at Welenchiti and Miesso in the CRVE. Dry soil planting depths were 4, 7, and 10 cm, and with broadcasted seed incorporated to varied depths (BC). There were three soil water deficit scenarios (W1, W2, W3 are soil water deficit regimes with 30, 15, and 0 mm water applied aft er dry soil planting, respectively, and then 30 mm added at 15, 20, and 25 d after planting). The highest plant survival (90% of planted seeds) at Miesso was with 7-cm planting depth with W3. The lowest survival (31%) was with BC and with W2 soil water deficit regime at Welenchiti. Compared with other dry soil planting depths on Vertisols, maize survival was greatest with planting at 7-cm depth across all soil water deficit scenarios. Maize was more tolerant of W3 compared with W1 and W2 soil water deficit scenarios. Success with dry soil planting of maize on Vertisols can be improved by planting at 7-cm depth compared with the farmers' variable depth practice, and if timed to reduce the risk of W1 and W2 type conditions occurring.
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