Effects of Cropping Systems on Selected Soil Physical and Hydraulic Properties of A Humic-Nitisol in Kenya.
Kioko, Thaddeus Mutuku
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Soil physical and hydraulic properties determine soil productivity. The objective of the study will be to examine the effects of pure coffee, maize mono-crop, maize-bean intercrop, systems on selected soil physical properties and soil hydraulic properties. These soil parameters are important for effective soil management for sustainable crop production. The specific parameters to be determined are soil aggregate stability, water holding capacity, hydraulic conductivity, bulk density and organic carbon. The study will be conducted in Muguru ward in Kangema subcounty. The farms will be randomly selected where soil samples will be collected at three horizons. Disturbed soil samples collected from the selected farms will be tested for soil organic carbon and aggregate stability analysis while undisturbed core samples will be tested for hydraulic conductivity, bulk density and water retention analysis. The experimental design will be a Randomized Complete Block Design replicated three times. The treatments will be a pure coffee plot, maize intercropped with beans and maize mono-crop. Each treatment will be replicated three times within the same agro-ecological area and from smallholder farmers. The fallow land next to the treatments sampled as a control. All data collected will be subjected to analysis of variance (ANOV A) using Genstat software. Means will be separated using least significance difference (LSD) at p = 0.05. The research findings will contribute to scientific knowledge on the impact of cropping systems on selected soil physical and hydraulic properties