Mechanisms of Residue Mulch-Induced Cereal Growth Increases in West Africa

Buerkert, A and Bationo, A and Dossa, K (2000) Mechanisms of Residue Mulch-Induced Cereal Growth Increases in West Africa. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 64 (1). pp. 346-358. ISSN 1435-0661

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The use of crop residues (CR) has been widely reported as a means of increasing crop yields across West Africa. However, little has been done to compare the magnitude and mechanisms of CR effects systematically in the different agro-ecological /ones of the region. To this end. a series of field trials with millet (Pennisetam glaacam L.), sorghum \Sorgham bicolor (L.) Moenchj, and mai/e (Zea mays L.) was conducted over a 4-yr period in the Sahclian, Sudaiiian. and Cuinean /ones of West Africa. Soils ranged in pi I from 4.1 to 54 along a rainfall gradient from 510 to 13011 mm. Treatments in the factorial experiments were three CR rates (0. 500. and 2000 kg ha"1) and several levels of phosphorus and nitrogen. The results showed CR-induced total dry matter (TDM) increases in cereals up to 73% for the Sahel compared with a maximum of 16% in the wetter Su-danian and Guinean /ones. Residue effects on weakly buffered Sahel-ian soils were due to improved P availability and to a protection of seedlings against wind erosion. Additional effects of CR mulching on topsoil properties in the Sahel were a decrease in peak temperatures by 4 °C and increased water availability. These mulch effects on soil chemical and physical properties strongly decreased from North to South. Likely explanations for this decrease are the decline of dust deposition and wind erosion hazards, the higher soil clay content, lower air temperature, and a faster decomposition rate of mulch material with increasing! rainfall from the Sahel to the Sudanian and Ciiin-ean /ones.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets
Mandate crops > Sorghum
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2011 03:38
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2013 11:07
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: The authors are grateful to A. Moussa, M. Bachir, A. Thiombiano, and I. Oumarou for their technical help at sampling and sample analysis, to H. Traore´ (INERA, Burkina Faso) and ICRISAT Sahelian Center for logistical support and to F. Graef for his help with soil classification. They also thank B. Buerkert, B. Ge´ rard, S. Alvey, V. Roemheld, N. van Duivenbooden, E.A. Kirkby, and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on earlier versions of this paper.
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