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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2007

Ploughing frequency and compost application effects on soil infiltrability in a cotton-maize (Gossypium hirsutum-Zea mays L.) rotation system on a Ferric Luvisol and a Ferric Lixisol in Burkina Faso

Ouattara K, Ouattara B, Nyberg G, Sedogo MP, Malmer A


One of the key issues to increase soil productivity in the Sahel is to ensure water infiltration and storage in the soil. We hypothesised that reducing tillage from annual to biennial ploughing and the use of organic matter, like compost, would better sustain soil hydraulic properties. The study had the objective to propose sustainable soil fertility management techniques in the cotton-maize cropping systems. The effects of reduced tillage (RT) and annual ploughing (AP) combined with compost application (Co) on soil infiltration parameters were assessed on two soil types. Topsoil mean saturated hydraulic conductivities (K-s) were between 9 and 48 mm, h(-1) in the Luvisol, while in the Lixisol they were between 18 and 275 mm h(-1). In the two soil types compost additions with reduced tillage or with annual ploughing had the largest effect on K,. Soil hydraulic behaviour was in reasonable agreement with soil pore size distribution (mean values varied from 19.5 to 237 mu m) modified by tillage frequency and organo-mineral fertilization. Already the first 3 years of this study showed that use of organic matter, improved soil infiltration characteristics when annual ploughing was used. Also biennial ploughing showed promising results and may be a useful strategy for smallholders to manage these soils. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Published in

Soil and Tillage Research
2007, Volume: 95, number: 1-2, pages: 288-297