Soil moisture stress mitigation for sustainable upland rice production in the Northern Guinea Savanna of Nigeria..


A. C. Odunze1*, M. T. Kudi5, C. Daudu2, J. Adeosun2, G. Ayoola3, I. Y. Amapu1, S. T. Abu1,A. Mando4, G. Ezui4and D. Constance

Northern Guinea Savanna (NGS) of Nigeria cultivable lands have sandy loam to loamy sand surface textures, low organic matter and are susceptible to erosion (wind and water). To mitigate crop moisture stress, on-farm trials involving contour-ridge-tying and contour ridging were carried out in Albasur and Dansoda villages in Dandume Local Government Area of Katsina State NGS to conserve soil against erosion and moisture for crop use in 2008 and 2009. The area NGS witness poor rainfall distribution, dry spells lasting beyond twenty one days occurring between June and July and low rainfall amounts (< 900 to 1300 mm per annum). These result in upland crops like rice (NERICA 2 var.) witnessing deficit soil moisture to undergo proper growth and production, low yields or complete crop failure. Also, soil erosion and runoff deplete water that could be available for crops and degrade farmlands for continued cultivation on the land. In this trial farmers ranked their rice grain yields while physical and agronomic data collected were statistically analysed using ANOVA and Duncan multiple range tests to separate means. Results show that cross-banded ridge resulted in significantly higher rice grain yields than the other treatments and was followed by contoured ridge. Socio-economic data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics and budgeting technique. Costs and returns analysis results show that labour and fertilizer inputs accounted for greater proportion of total variable costs incurred in contour (15.72%), contour plus tie ridging (15.72%), planting on flat land and farmers ridging practice (16.43 and 16.55% respectively). Costs and returns analysis result shows that rice cultivation using contour and contour plus tie ridging is more profitable, implying feasible sustainable rice production through contour farming.

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