Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol.12, Issue 3, 2006; Page No.(405- 411)

EFFECTS OF CROPPING SYSYTEMS ON FERTILITY OF AN ALFISOL IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

S.A. Mashi and M.M. Alhassan

Abstract

Five cropping systems (Maize, Beans and Guinea Corn sole cropping; and Cowpea+ Maize, and Guinea Corn+ Cowpea intercrops) each involving inorganic fertilizer application and crop residue retention, were established in 1992 on a tropical Haplustalf in Lavin Minista area of Malurnfashi District of Katsina state located in part of northern Nigeria. The aim was to assess their influencing effects on phvsical, chemical and biological soil properties. Analyses of topsoil (0-20cm) and subsoil (30-40cm) samples conducted in 2002 revealed that the sole cropping systems have caused the soils to become sandier; and the five systems make the soils more acidic. While Guinea Corn + Cowpea intercrop resulted in significant increase in levels of silt, clay, organic matter, CEC, N, F, Mg, K, and N a; the remaining cropping systems resulted in some significant declines in levels of most of the considered soil properties. Guinea Corn + Cowpea intercrop was thus found to be the cropping system with the least soil clegradative tendencies in the area. The study thus recommend that a balanced soil fertility programme, for the area should involve an integrated cultivation of Guinea Corn + Cow pea together with a third crop of choice.

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