Effect of In-situ Water Harvesting and Contour Bunding on Yield of Sorghum in Marginal Lands.

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Omer, M.A.
Elamin, E.M.
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Faculty of Agriculture, University of Khartoum, Shambat, Sudan
As a result of in-situ testing of rain water harvesting, for four seasons at on-station research level, chisel ploughing together with contour bunding technique have been chosen as appropriate means of water harvesting and conservation measures. The technique was tested on marginally cultivated, hard compacted soil of relatively low infiltration rates, locally known as "gardud" (sandy clay). This type of soil is of good farming potential if appropriate soil and water management techniques are undertaken. The aim of using this technique is to improve the ability of "gardud" soil to absorb and conserve water, to alleviate the effect of long dry spells by harvesting surface runoff to increase soil water storage for earlier and better plant establishment and hence to increase yield. The chisel and contour bunding every 10 metres were better than the control flat technique in improving soil physical properties and increasing soil water storage. The effect was reflected in highly significant sorghum plant establishment and growth. Both grain and dry matter yields were significantly increased by chisel and contour bunding. The technique increased grain yield by 152% over the control. Also, contour and non-contour treatments produced 1277 kg/ha and 1016 kg/ha, respectively, for the mean of chisel and flat treatments with 25.7% increase.The economic analysis indicated a 204% marginal rate of return for chisel polugh with contour over chisel alone. Even contour bunding with flat cultivation has doubled the economic return compared to the traditional flat alone. Therefore, this improved technology is economically superior to the traditional cultivation. Furthermore, it can be adopted to utilize- "gardud" soil as an alternative to, and to relief pressure from, exhausted and continuously cultivated poor "goz" sandy soil.
Page(s): 4 (1), 14- 31, 10 Ref.
infiltration rates, bunding technique, water management and soil management.