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Title: Effect of Tillage Practices on Soil Fertility: a case study of the West Mamprusi District of Northern Region
Authors: Tindjina, Ignatius
Issue Date: 20-Jun-2011
Abstract: Food security is the basis for human survival. This however, depends on sustainable agriculture. Sustainability hinges on the efficient and judicious use of land and soil resources. This study conducted in the West Mamprusi district of the Northern Region of Ghana, sought to assess the effect of tillage practices on the fertility of the soil. The tillage practices assessed were 1. Tractor plough topsoil (TpT) 2. Tractor plough subsoil (TpS) 3. Bullock plough topsoil (BpT) 4. Bullock plough subsoil (BpS) 5. Hands hoeing topsoil (HpT) 6. Hands hoeing subsoil (HpS) 7. Zero tillage topsoil (ZpT) 8. Zero tillage subsoil (ZpS) 9. Fallow land topsoil (FlT) and 10. Fallow land subsoil. The study consisted of two components namely: a survey conducted in ten communities with twelve questionnaires in each community and soil nutrient analysis. Soil samples were collected in three locations at two depths (0-15cm as topsoil and 15-30cm for subsoil). ANOVA was used to analyse the results using the GENSTAT statistical package whilst treatment means were compared using Duncan‟s Multiple Range Test (DMRT) at P=0.05. Results from the survey indicated that 80 % of the respondents did not know of the effects of their tillage practices on soil fertility whilst 70.8 % of them had the opinion that use of agrochemicals had the greatest impact on soil fertility. 76.7 % of them indicated their awareness on organic farming or sustainable agriculture. On the maintenance of soil fertility, 44 %, 33 % and 23 % of them indicated avoidance of deforestation and use of fallow system, avoidance of extensive use of agrochemicals and use of crop residues and avoidance of farming near water bodies and the practice of crop rotation as the way forward for maintaining soil fertility respectively. There were significant differences (P<0.05) with regards to total exchangeable bases and effective cation exchange capacity between fallow land topsoil (FlT) and the rest of the tillage practices with the former showing superiority. Yield of maize per acre also indicated a significant difference between hands hoed and zero tillage with zero tillage being superior. However, bulk density, organic matter, total nitrogen and available phosphorus did not show any significant differences among and between the tillage practices (P> 0.05). The results indicated that the soil texture of the area was generally sandy loam to loamy sand with sand, silt and clay content ranging from 29.2-83.4 %, 4.6- 62.8 % and 4.0- 12.0 % respectively depicting the generally low magnitudes of soil fertility parameters. The manner in which soils are managed has a major impact on agricultural productivity. In order to be sustainable, development interventions must not only be economically sustainable but also socially acceptable and environmentally sound. Therefore, strategies to feed the ever growing population in the country have to seek a sustainable solution that would not mine the soil of its nutrients; and that would better address soil fertility management.
Description: A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science, 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/4127
Appears in Collections:College of Science

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