Indentification of crop -growing seasons of Semi-Arid Kenya by Analysis of the soil moisture patterns

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National Agricultural Research Laboratories
Eight stations with over 30 years of rainfall record were selected in the dry region of Kenya, east of 37°E longitude, to study the nature of the crop growing seasons during the short and the long rains (October through June). The rainfall data were reduced to soil moisture based upon areawide assumptions on the soil characteristics. The start, end and duration of the crop growing seasons were determined and tested for normality using a 10 mm soil moisture threshold value at each station. Mean seasonal conditions were computed and comparisons were made between the two growing seasons within each station and among all the stations. Stations were grouped according to the magnitude of the coefficient of determinatipn between start and duration and regression equations were developed to predict season duration, from the starting dates. Equations are also derived to estimate the probable length of the growing season for various levels of crop moisture requirements. The exceptionally wet and dry years are ex- amined