Soil moisture variability and uptake of selected nutrients by maize along the toposequence of terraced andosols in Narok, Kenya

Ruto, A.C, Gachene, C. K., Gicheru, P. T., Mburu, D.M and Zeinab, K.


Full Length Research Paper  I Published October,2017


Journal of Agricultural Science and Food Technology  Vol. 3 (5), pp.78-87





The primary purpose of terracing is to intercept runoff water and reduce soil erosion, as well as to improve land productivity in steep slopes. A field experiment was carried out in Suswa, Narok Country during the short and long rain seasons of 2013 to 2015 to assess the effect of slope position and cropping pattern on soil moisture distribution and nutrient uptake by maize along the toposequence of terraced andosols. A randomized complete block design was used with maize (Zea mays L) and beans (Phaesolus vulgaris L.) as the test crops. The study examined soil and maize grain samples in the upper (U), upper middle (UM), middle (M), lower middle (LM) and lower (L) positions of the terrace. Soil samples were collected at a depth of 50 and 75 cm at maize tasslelling stage. The results indicated that there were significant differences (p≤0.05) in soil moisture distribution and N, P and K uptake according to slope position with higher values in L>LM>UM>M>U. There was however no significant effect on N,P, and K uptake according to cropping pattern. The research shows that terracing have effect on soil moisture and nutrient variability and farmers can benefit from this spatial variability in the terraced fields as a low technology precision farming for increased yields.

Key Words: Cropping pattern, Nutrient uptake, Slope position, Soil moisture and Terracing.

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