Effects of soil management practices and tillage systems on surface soil water conservation and crust formation on a sandy loam in semi -arid Kenya

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Ministry Of Agriculture
The effect of different soil management practices on crust strength and thickness, soil water conservation and crop performance was investigated on a ferric lixisol in a semi-arid environment of eastern Kenya. The study proved that manure and mulching with minimum tillage have a greater effect on the water balance of crusted soils and maize emergence. There was increase in steady infiltration rates, amount of soil water stored in the soil and better drainage. The physical effect of mulch was less important in the rehabilitation of crusted soils in the study site when it was incorporated into the soil. Manure and surface mulch with minimum tillage should therefore be taken into account in land management and water conservation in the semi-arid areas of Kenya. The response of crops to the improved water availability due to manure with minimum and with conventional tillage and surface mulch was very clear. These management practices should be recommended when considering the effectiveness of soil and water management techniques in the study area.© 2003 Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved