The Effects of Tillage Practices on Coffee Yields

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Pereira H. C.
Jones, P.A.
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Results are presented for the first 5 years of a field study of the effects of tillage by hand hoes, and by the tractor implements which are replacing them in the coffee industry. Two rain seasons in each year gave ten effective cycles for weed control and soil structure changes. Yields of Coffea arabica were heavily reduced in each year by weed competition, although this was permitted in wet weather only, all weeds being killed by cultivation at the end of each rains. The reduction in crop over 5 years amounted to 39 percent. for tall weed growth, and 27 percent. when weeds were slashed. The highest yields were produced consistently by clean weeding with the forked hand hoe. Averaged over all weed conditions, the disk gave yields significantly lower than either hoe or plough. Sub-plots were manured with cattle manure to encourage different levels of weed growth, but the manure did not increase coffee yields.The depths of tillage gave no significant yield differences and the subsoiling tine also failed to affect yields. Large numbers of samples were tested for various quality factors, but no significant effects of tillage practices on crop classification were found.
East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal, 22 (87), pp. 232-240