Soil Drainage and Nutrient Management to Improve Productivity of Waterlogged Vertisols for Small-scale Farmers
Vertisols cover large part of the high rainfall areas of Ethiopia. However, the potential of these soils is not well exploited because of heavy water logging during the main rain season. A study was conducted to investigate the interactive effects of soil drainage and fertilizer application on the productivity of Vertisols. Factorial combinations of four planting beds (Broadbed and furrow (BBF) with 100 cm bed size, broadbed and furrow with 80 cm bed size, ridge and furrow (RF) with 30 cm bed size, and flatbed) and two fertilizer levels (unfertilized and fertilized with 64 kg N ha-1 & 46 kg P2O5 ha-1) in RCBD were experimented for the sustainable use and improved productivity of Vertisols in Northeastern Ethiopia in the 2006/2007 cropping season. Results revealed that ridge and furrow bed (RF) drained more excess water than the broadbed and furrow beds (BBF) and the flatbed (F), but with yield penalties. Soil drainage using broadbed and furrows (BBF) and nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization reduced days to heading and maturity by 12 and 15%, respectively. The broadbed and furrow and the nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization package increased grain yield by 90%, grain nitrogen and phosphorus uptakes by 183 and 252%, and stover nitrogen and phosphorus uptakes by 152 and 121%. Thus, planting in broadbed and furrows (BBF), disregard of the bed size, with fertilizer application is recommended for bread wheat production on vertisols in Northeastern Ethiopia.
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