Tillage methods and soil and water conservation in eastern Africa
Biamah, E. K
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This paper reviews some research studies on tillage methods influencing soil and moisture conservation in the eastern African countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Ethiopia during the past four decades. Most of these studies were conducted in marginal rainfall (semi arid) areas and on shallow soils of various textures (sandy clay loam, sandy clay, clay and loam). The studies were meant to establish the effects of tillage and residue management practices on physico-chemical soil properties (i.e. structure, bulk density, soil moisture and organic matter contents), runoff and infiltration. This review emphasizes the importance of appropriate tillage and residue management methods (contour bunds and terraces, minimum tillage, tied ridging, mulching and conventional tillage) in providing soil conditions favourable for soil moisture conservation and subsequent crop performance and yield on smallholder farms.