Improving soil quality and upland rice yield in northern Benin with no-tillage, rice straw mulch and nitrogen fertilization
By: Elliott Ronald Dossou-Yovo, Edward Ampofo, Attanda Mouinou Igue, Luc Ollivier Sintondji, Naab Jesse, Joël Huat, Euloge Kossi Agbossou
Key Words: Management practices, Soil quality, Upland rice, Yield.
Int. J. Agr. Agri. Res. 9(1), 117-131, July 2016.
Management practices that simultaneously improve soil properties and yield are crucial to sustain high crop production and minimize detrimental impact on the environment. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of tillage, rice straw mulch and nitrogen fertilization on soil quality and upland rice yield in northern Benin, West Africa. The 2-year (2014-2015) field experiment was conducted with two tillage systems (no-tillage, and manual tillage), two rice straw managements (no rice straw, and rice straw mulch at 3 Mg ha-1) and three nitrogen fertilizer levels (no nitrogen, moderate level of nitrogen: 60 kg ha-1, and high level of nitrogen: 120 kg ha-1). Rice yield was not significantly different as a function of tillage systems. On the contrary, rice yield significantly increased with application of rice straw mulch and nitrogen fertilizer. The highest response of rice yield to nitrogen fertilizer addition was obtained for 60 kg N ha-1 in combination with 3 Mg ha-1 of rice straw for the two tillage systems. Soil moisture and soil microbial carbon were higher under no-tillage, rice straw mulch and nitrogen fertilizer. No-tillage combined with rice straw mulch and 60 kg N ha-1 could be used by smallholder farmers to improve soil quality and achieve higher grain yield in upland rice fields in northern Benin.