Soil management in the northern Guinea savanna of Nigeria

Kirchhof, G., Odunze, A. C. and Salako, F. K. (2009). Soil management in the northern Guinea savanna of Nigeria. In Gunnar Kirchhof (Ed.), Soil fertility in sweetpotato-based cropping systems in the highlands of Papua New Guinea (pp. 43-48) Canberra, ACT, Australia: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

Author Kirchhof, G.
Odunze, A. C.
Salako, F. K.
Title of chapter Soil management in the northern Guinea savanna of Nigeria
Title of book Soil fertility in sweetpotato-based cropping systems in the highlands of Papua New Guinea
Place of Publication Canberra, ACT, Australia
Publisher Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
Publication Year 2009
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
Series ACIAR technical reports
ISBN 9781921531804
Editor Gunnar Kirchhof
Volume number 17
Chapter number 5
Start page 43
End page 48
Total pages 6
Total chapters 13
Language eng
Subjects 0703 Crop and Pasture Production
0503 Soil Sciences
Abstract/Summary A survey of soil management practices was conducted in the northern Guinea savanna of Nigeria. Fifteen villages were randomly selected from a geographical grid covering an area of 100 × 200 km located in the benchmark area of the Ecoregional Program for the Humid and Sub-humid Tropics of Sub-Saharan Africa. In each village the chief and several farmers were interviewed to assess their soil management methods and attitude towards the need to conserve soil. A total of 181 farmers were interviewed in late 1996. The most common crop rotation systems were food legumes with non-legume crops (40%), followed by monocropping (28%). Fifty-three per cent of the farmers who included food legumes in their rotations did so for soil fertility considerations, while 49% of the farmers who practised monocropping did so to maximise their output. These practices indicate that farmers were well aware of the importance of legumes for maintaining soil fertility. Only 2% of the farmers practised mulching with crop residue. The most common use of crop residue was for fodder, the remainder largely being used as building material or else burnt. As a consequence, soil surfaces were generally bare at the onset of the rainy season and hence prone to soil erosion. Ridging was the most important land preparation technique (88%), with farmers perceiving benefit in terms of improved crop emergence (56%) and water conservation (11%). Other benefits included weed control. Ridging was generally practised along contours, with most farmers citing soil conservation benefits, e.g. water conservation, and erosion control as the reasons for using contour ridging. Those farmers who purposely ridged up and down the slope did so for drainage purposes. All farmers used the same method to build ridges—the ridge from the previous year was cut in the middle and the two halves of neighbouring ridges were combined to form a new ridge in the furrow from the previous year. According to the farmers, this method controlled weeds and improved emergence. None of the farmers practised rebuilding old ridges, similar to permanent ridges. Such a practice might be acceptable to farmers in that it may be less labour intensive to rebuild partially collapsed ridges compared to reridging completely. Soil physical benefits from semi-permanent ridging would include increased soil structural stability, reduced soil compaction and increased root proliferation into the subsoil. Negative side effects might include reduced crop emergence and increased weed infestation. The most commonly used tools for soil preparation were hand hoes (80%), followed by draft animals (16%) and tractors (3%).
Keyword Soil Management
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
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Created: Tue, 21 Sep 2010, 12:29:34 EST by Ms May Balasaize on behalf of Faculty Of Nat Resources, Agric & Veterinary Sc