The Journal of Agricultural Science

Cambridge Journals Online - CUP Full-Text Page
The Journal of Agricultural Science (2009), 147:313-322 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © 2009 Cambridge University Press
doi:10.1017/S002185960900851X

Crops and Soils

Effects of crop rotation and fallow residue management on maize growth, yield and soil carbon in a savannah-forest transition zone of Ghana


S. G. K. ADIKUa1a2 c1, J. W. JONESa1, F. K. KUMAGAa3 and A. TONYIGAHa3

a1 Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, USA
a2 Department of Soil Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana
a3 Department of Crop Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana
Article author query
adiku sg [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
jones jw [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
kumaga fk [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
tonyigah a [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]

SUMMARY

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of seven maize (Zea mays)–fallow rotation and fallow residue management treatments on growth, maize yield and soil carbon within a savannah-forest farming zone of Ghana. Over a 4-year period, maize rotated with bare fallow (control) produced an average maize biomass and yield of 4·0 and 1·0 t/ha/yr, respectively. Maize rotated with elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) with the fallow grass residue burning produced an average maize biomass and yield of 8·0 and 2·0 t/ha/yr, respectively. The removal of the fallow grass biomass (9·0 t/ha/yr) by burning resulted in a low total residue (maize stover+fallow residue) returned to the soil (7·0 t/ha/yr). The total residue returned to the soil was 14·0 t/ha/yr. Despite the larger total residue returned to the soil by the incorporation treatment, the performance of the maize was not significantly different from that of the fallow residue burning treatment. Maize rotated with cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), mucuna (Mucuna pruriens) or pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) produced similar maize biomass of 8·0 t/ha/yr and yields of 2·0 t/ha/yr, but with higher variability for the maize–cowpea rotation. Biomass produced by fallow cowpea, mucuna or pigeon pea were 4·0, 5·0 and 8·0 t/ha/yr, respectively, and total residues added to the soil were 13·0, 13·0 and 15·0 t/ha/yr, respectively. Maize–grass rotation with fertilizer application to the maize resulted in biomass and yield production of 11·0 and 3·0 t/ha/yr, respectively, and fallow grass production of 12·0 t/ha/yr. The total residue returned to the soil was 18·0 t/ha/yr. Soil organic carbon (SOC) declined under all treatments over time, with the control losing about 55% of the initial SOC by the end of the trial. The decline in SOC was 19% for the fertilized maize–grass rotation, but all other treatments lost between 33 and 44% SOC. Overall, the fertilized maize–grass and maize–pigeon pea rotations were identified as those that sustained relatively high maize yields, returned large residue amounts to the soil and minimized soil carbon loss.

(Received December 18 2008)

(Online publication February 26 2009)

Correspondence:

c1 To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email: s.adiku@ufl.edu and s_adiku@ug.edu.gh


0Comments