Tillage Effects on Selected Soil Physical Properties in a Maize-Bean Intercropping System in Mwala District, Kenya
Gachene, Charles K.
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A field study was carried out to evaluate the effects of tillage practices on soil physical properties in Mwala district, Eastern Kenya, during the long rains (LR) and short rains (SR) of 2012/13. The treatments were disc ploughing (DP), disc ploughing and harrowing (DPH), ox-ploughing (OX), subsoiling-ripping (SSR), hand hoeing with tied ridges (HTR), hand hoeing only (H). These were investigated under three cropping systems of sole maize, sole bean, and maize-bean intercrop in a split-plot design with four replications. Soil physical properties were monitored at different weeks after planting (WAP) throughout the growing seasons. A four-season average shows that soil moisture content was significantly () higher in OX SSR DPH H HTR DP with values ranging from 13.1 to 14.1%. Soil surface roughness and crust strength varied significantly () over time within the growing seasons, between the tillage practices, and across the different seasons with values ranging from 26 to 66% and 1.21 to 1.31 MPa, respectively. Tillage practices and cropping systems did not significantly affect bulk density, porosity, or values. It is apparent that long term tillage experiment (4 seasons) would be required to detect changes in soil physical properties as a result of the soil management practices