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ISSN : 2456-8643

Title:
EFFECT OF COVER MANAGEMENT PRACTICES ON EROSION, SOIL PROPERTIES AND MAIZE PERFORMANCE UNDER NATURAL RAINFALL IN MAKURDI, BENUE STATE, NIGERIA

Authors:
AGBER, P.I.1, AJON, A.T. and UGESE, F.D.

Abstract:
A field experiment was conducted to assess the effect of cover management practices on erosion, soil properties and maize performance from an agricultural field during 2015 and 2016 cropping seasons in Makurdi area of Benue State, Nigeria using erosion plots under natural rainfall. Soil management practices namely, bare fallow (control), 4 and 8 t/ha mulched maize, maize + cowpea and unmulched maize were replicated three times. The mechanical analysis of the study site indicated sandy loam texture with low values of soil nutrients, organic matter (0.86%) and soil pH (6.11) before the application of treatments. The values of runoff varied from 1.4 to 127.02 mm and soil loss from 0 to 31.8 t/ha/yr during the two cropping seasons. The effect of cover management practices on soil properties determined after harvest significantly (p<0.05) improved soil properties such as soil pH, O.M, N, P, exchangeable bases, EA, CEC, BS and porosity relative to the low values of nutrients obtained under bare fallow. ANOVA on yield parameters of maize such plant height and leaf area were significantly (p<0.05) different, while data on runoff, soil loss and grain yields showed significant (p<0.01) difference among the treatments. Lower values of runoff, soil loss, and higher values of soil properties and yield parameters of maize were obtained under 8 t/ha mulched maize management compared to bare fallow and unmulched maize treatments. Correlation analysis between grain yield and runoff, and soil loss showed significant negative correlation (p<0.05). Grain yield of maize decreased with increase in runoff and soil loss

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