A system of crop and soil management for the wet season production of food crops on a heavy clay soil in Guyana: 1. Effect of mulching and tillage on soil properties and crop yields

Leslie A. Simpson, Frank A. Gumbs

Abstract


The application of a vegetative mulch had no significant effect on maintaining and prolonging the soil structure (measured as porosity and bulk density) obtained from tillage on a heavy clay soil. Mulching, however, had positive effects on soil moisture conservation and lowering of supra-optimal soil temperatures, the soil moisture conservation being beneficial when mean weekly rainfall is normally low. It can, however, be detrimental when rainfall is high, as the soil has very poor internal drainage. Mulching no-tillage plots showed some build up of N and organic C in the 0-5 cm soil depth. Increased cowpea yields under mulch indicate that this could be a viable practice for the short rainfall period. For the long rainfall period the use of mulch cannot be strongly recommended.

Keywords


Mulching; Tillage; Soil properties; Crop yields; Clay soil; Guyana

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