Tillage and fertilizer effect on maize and soybean yields in the Guinea savanna zone of Ghana

Buah, S S J and Ibrahim, H and Derigubah, M and Kuzie, M and Segtaa, J V and Bayala, J and Zougmore, R B and Ouedraogo, M (2017) Tillage and fertilizer effect on maize and soybean yields in the Guinea savanna zone of Ghana. Agriculture & Food Security, 6 (17). pp. 1-11. ISSN 2048-7010

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Background The most limiting factors for sustainable maize production in smallholder farming systems of sub-Saharan Africa, especially the savanna agro-ecological zone, are erratic rainfall pattern and low soil fertility. Methods Research was conducted with smallholder farmers in 2013 and 2014 in two communities in the Upper West Region of Ghana to evaluate the effects of NPK mineral fertilizer (64–38–38 kg ha−1 N–P2O5–K2O, respectively) on growth and yield of maize at Bompari, and 375 kg ha−1 of YaraLegume™ fertilizer (0–18–13 NPK + 3 CaO + 2 MgO + 4 S) on growth and yield of soybean at Doggoh, under no-tillage (using pre-plant application of glyphosate) and conventional tillage (using hand hoe). Results Mean grain yields of both maize and soybean were higher in 2014 than 2013. In both years, no-tillage and conventional tillage had similar effect on soybean plant height, pods per plant and aboveground dry matter production. Averaging over fertilizer treatment, grain yield of no-tillage soybean was 51% higher when compared with tilled soybean in 2014 only. Mean grain yield of no-tillage maize was 68% higher than that of tilled maize in 2013 only. Regardless of tillage method, fertilizer application significantly increased maize and soybean grain yields. Application of fertilizer to soybean resulted in 59% (193 kg ha−1) and 54% (474 kg ha−1) increase in grain yields in 2013 and 2014, respectively, over no fertilizer treatment. Mean grain yield of maize was 140 and 252% higher with fertilizer treatment in 2013 and 2014, respectively. No-till system showed cost savings due to reduced labour mainly for weed control. Conclusion The results of these studies showed that no-tillage with fertilizer, whether for maize or soybean, generally resulted in the highest grain yields. No-tillage also gave the highest economic returns. Farmers can get better returns to the money invested in herbicide for producing maize and soybean under no-till than with their traditional practice even on degraded savanna soils with low levels of plant available nutrients.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Maize, Soybean, No-till, Mineral fertilizer, Economic analysis, Ghana, Rainfall, Soil fertility
Subjects: Others > Intercropping
Others > Cereals
Others > Drylands Agriculture
Others > Maize
Others > African Agriculture
Others > West Africa
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2017 08:21
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2018 05:36
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/10153
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40066-017-0094-8
Acknowledgement: This work was implemented as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), a strategic partnership of CGIAR and Future Earth, led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). We acknowledge the CGIAR Fund Council, Australia (ACIAR), European Union, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Ireland, New Zealand, Netherlands, Switzerland, USAID, UK and Thailand for funding to CCAFS. The authors wish to thank the staff of MoFA in Lawra and Jirapa districts for their support in organizing community members for the project activities. We duly appreciate the efforts of CCAFS collaborating farmers who took time off their farms and cooperated with us to make the PAR successful. We acknowledge the role played by the late Mr. Linus Kabo-bah in mobilizing the community members for project work.
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