Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) is one of the exportable commodities in Ethiopia, though its productivity is threatened by moisture stress. This research aims to study effect of organic mulches and land preparation methods on sesame productivity and in-situ moisture conservation. The experiment was carried out in Humera, Western Tigray during 2015/16 growing season. The experimental design was factorial randomized complete block design with three replications. There were four type of organic mulches (rice straw, sorghum straw, sesame straw and “Sudan grass”) compared with control (no mulching) and two land preparation methods (ridge and flat land preparation). Sesame, variety Setit-1 was used in the experiment. The organic mulching rate of application was 10 ton ha-1 and this was applied evenly to the soil immediately after emergence. Soil water content, phonological characteristics, yield and yield components of sesame were collected. Partial budget analysis was computed to evaluate the economic visibility of both factors. The data collected was analyzed with Genstat15 software and treatment showed that significant difference was subjected to mean comparison test. The analyzed results indicated that land preparation methods with organic mulching had significant effect on soil moisture content at different soil depth and grain yield. The highest yield (750 kg ha-1) was recorded under flat land preparation with “Sudan grass” while the lowest yield (140 kgha-1) was recorded under no mulch with flat land preparation methods. The economic analysis showed that flat land preparation with “Sudan grass” produces the highest net benefit (9,499 Birr) and marginal rate of return (223.3%). The overall result showed that investing 1.0 Birr on flat land preparation method mulched with “Sudan grass” earns 2.23 birr. Thus, using flat land preparation with “Sudan grass” as mulch could be an advantage to obtain highest yield and profit for the farmers in dry land areas.
Key words: Organic mulch, land preparation method, soil moisture, Sesame yield.
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