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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Analysis of Intra and Interseasonal Rainfall Variability and Its Effects on Pearl Millet Yield in a Semiarid Agroclimate: Significance of Scattered Fields and Tied Ridges

Silungwe, Festo Richard; Graef, Frieder; Bellingrath-Kimura, Sonoko Dorothea; Tumbo, Siza Donald; Kahimba, Frederick Cassian; Lana, Marcos Alberto


Establishing food security in sub-Saharan African countries requires a comprehensive and high resolution understanding of the driving factors of crop production. Poor soil and adverse climate conditions are among the major drivers of poor regional crop production. Drought and rainfall variability challenges are not fully being addressed by rainfed producers in semiarid areas. In this study, we analysed the spatiotemporal rainfall variability (STRV) and its effects on pearl millet yield using two seasons of data collected from 38 rain gauge stations scattered randomly in farm plots within a 1500 ha area of semiarid central Tanzania. The STRV effects on pearl millet yield under flat and tied ridge management were analysed. Our results show that seasonal rainfall can vary significantly for neighboring fields at distances of less than 200 m, which impacts yield. The STRV for daily rainfall was found to be more critical than for total seasonal rainfall amounts. Scattering fields can help farmers avoid total harvest loss by obtaining at least some yield from the areas that received adequate rain. The use of tied ridges is recommended to conserve soil moisture and improve yields more than flat cultivation in semiarid areas.


spatiotemporal rainfall variability; tied ridges; scattered plots; pearl millet; yield loss

Published in

2019, Volume: 11, number: 3, article number: 578
Publisher: MDPI

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land
    SDG2 Zero hunger

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


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