Effect of Two Ploughing Methods on Soil Moisture Conservation and on Growth of Pasture Plants in a Semi-arid Environment in the Sudan

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Abusuwar, Awad
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University of Khartoum
A study was carried out for two seasons (2000/01 and 2001/02) at Agleri village (40 km north east of Neyala town) western Sudan in a semi-arid zone under rainfed conditions. The objective of the research was to evaluate the adaptability of introduced perennial legumes and grass pastures in a semi-arid environment. Four introduced perennial pasture species; namely, Stylosanthes hamata, Macroptilium atropurpurium and Clitoria ternata (legumes) and Cenchrus ciliaris (grass), were studied. Two ploughing methods, viz, spring toothed cultivator and spiked toothed harrow, were used. A split-plot deign with three replications was applied. Ploughing methods were assigned to the main plots and the pasture species to the subplots. The plot size was 15x20 m. Data were collected on soil moisture percentage, using the gravimetric method, and plant growth parameters (plant density, survival rate and plant cover). Generally, ploughing methods and pasture species had no significant effect on soil moisture content, but pasture species had a significant effect on plant growth (plant density, survival rate and plant cover). Stylosanthes hamata in a pure stand and in a mixture with Cenchrus ciliaris was better in growth parameters than the other pasture species. Stylosanthes hamata and Cenchrus ciliaris were able to compete with the native plant species. The study indicated that there was no significant effect of ploughing methods on growth parameters, but the spring toothed cultivator gave better results in plant density, plant survival and plant cover.
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Ploughing Methods, Soil Moisture Conservation,Pasture Plants,Semi arid Environment, Sudan