On Farm Evaluation and Demonstration of Animal Drawn Moldboard and Gavin Plows in the Gumara-Maksegnit Watershed
Keywords:No-tillage, moldboard plow
In most small holder farmers in Ethiopian highlands, farmers still use the wooden ard plow (Maresha).The present trial was conducted in 2011-2012 at Gumara Maksegint water shade, to evaluate the effect of four different tillage methods on teff and wheat yield and soil physical properties. The experiment was performed using a randomized complete block design with four treatments and three replications. The experiment was carried out on two soil types, a sandy Nitosol prevailing in the hilly upper areas and clayey Vertisol prevailing the valleys. Land preparation by tillage was done with either a Moldboard plow, Gavin plow, or traditional plow, and was compared against a No-tillage treatment. Animal draft force, soil bulk density, penetration resistance, moisture content, and water infiltration, as well as crop yields were recorded. No statistical differences in terms of yields were found among treatments for both soil types. On the lighter Nitosol tillage implement had significant effect on moisture content, the highest moisture content was on plots tilled with the Gavin plow and the lowest was obtained on No-till treatment. No such clear trend could be observed for soil bulk density. On the Vertisol the effect of tillage implement on moisture content and bulk density was not significant. No-till resulted in lower cumulative infiltrations as compared to Gavin and moldboard plowing, but no significant difference on yield is recorded. Therefore No tillage can be used as an alternative tillage practice. On reduction of farm power, No-till is promising tillage practice for farmers who don’t have draft animal. However, the long-term impact of this practice on soil strength should be further studied.