A Comparison of the Effects of Conventional and Namibia Specific Conservation Tillage Methods Used in Ogongo, Namibia on Root Development and Yield of Pearl Millet. Volume 1
Studies were conducted at the Ogongo Campus of University of Namibia between 2011 and 2012 to compare the differences between two conventional tillage (CV) treatments (i.e. tractor - drawn disc harrow (TDH) and animal - drawn mouldboard plough (AMP) and two NSCT treatments (tractor - drawn ripper furrower (TRF) and animal - drawn ripper furrowers (ARF) used by farmers in the Northern Communal Areas (NCA) of Namibia. This paper is the first volume of a series of papers to report on the comparisons of the two technologies on field performances of tillage methods and their effects on moisture, compaction, roots and yield. For this paper, the parameters evaluated were root length and yield. The research design was a split plot design with tillage as main plot treatment whilst mulch was the sub plot treatment. Yields were not significantly influenced by tillage (p = 0.410 in 2011 and 0.078 in 2012) but root length were significantly influenced by tillage in the second year (p<0.005). There were no significant differences in mulched plots vs unmulched plots among the tillage methods. Both NSCT methods (TRF with mulch and ARF with mulch) achieved longer root lengths than CV methods (TDH and AMP) by 24.5% and 8.5% respectively. Tractor ripper furrower (TRF) achieved the longest mean roots and yields in 2012. The NSCT methods (TRF and ARF) achieved higher yields than CV methods (TDH and AMP) by 10.1% and 11% respectively. The results also suggests that farmers’ yields can be increased from an average of 400 kg ha-1 through better management that includes use of CT implements, manure, fertilizer and mulch.
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