Efficiency of Combined Tillage Practices, Cropping Systems and Organic Inputs on Soil Moisture Retention in Yatta Sub-County, Kenya
Chepkemoi Janeth, Dr. Onwonga Richard, Dr. George N. Karuku, Dr. Vincent M. Kathumo

The study evaluated the efficiency of combined tillage practices, cropping systems and organic inputs on soil moisture retention. It was carried out between October 2012 to February 2013 short rain season (SRS) and March to August 2013 long rain season (LRS). Randomized Complete Block Design with a split-split plot arrangement was used. Main plots tillage practices (TP); Oxen plough (OP), tied ridges (TR) and furrows and ridges (FR). Split-plots cropping systems (CS); mono cropping (MC), intercropping (IC) and crop rotation (CR) while split-split plots organic inputs; Farmyard manure (FYM), Minjingu Rock Phosphate (MRP), combined MRP and FYM (MRP+FYM) and control. Test crops sorghum and sweet potatoes with Dolichos (Dolichos lablab) and chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) as intercrops or in rotation. Soil samples taken at 0-30 cm depth at the start of the experiment and maturity of test crops for soil moisture content and efficiency determination expressed as percentage. Significant (p=0.05) increased in soil moisture content was recorded in TR under IC of dolichos with application of FYM (7.53% and 7.88%) for sorghum and sweet potato plots respectively. Intercropping of sweet potato/dolichos under TR with the application of FYM are efficient soil moisture conservation techniques.

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