Study on conservation farming (CF) was conducted in moisture deficit area of Tigray, Ethiopia from 2013-2014. The experiment was conducted both on station and on farmers’ field. The treatments were: conventional tillage with fertilizer, conventional tillage without fertilizer, sub soiling with fertilizer, sub soiling + tie ridging with fertilizer, sub soiling + tie ridging + intercropping with fertilizer, sub soiling + tie-ridging + intercropping without fertilizer, sub soiling + tie ridging + transplanting with fertilizer, direct plating on basin with fertilizer and transplanting on basin with fertilizer. Significantly, higher mean sorghum grain yields of 2.40 and 2.50 t/ha were recorded from transplanted sorghum seedlings and directly planted sorghum seeds in basin respectively in the on station trial using early maturing ‘Hormat’ variety. Similarly, 2.40 and 2.38 t ha-1 grain yields were obtained from tie ridging and transplanting at basin respectively, while the lowest mean grain yield of 0.94 t/ha was obtained from the conventional tillage without fertilizer treatment in the farmers managed plots. Mean grain yield of 3.90 and 5.60 t/ha were also obtained from ‘Kodem’ and ‘Abaere’ Sorghum land races, respectively planted in planting basin at farmers field. Some soil chemical properties (like total nitrogen, available phosphorus and organic carbon) on the conservation treatments show increment. Planting basin (either direct planted or transplanted) and tie ridging tillage method with micro-dossing of fertilizers combined with conservation farming package components enhance crop, water and soil productivity and help mitigate the effects of prolonged dry spells in the moisture deficit of Tigray.
Key words: Conservation farming, conventional tillage, basin, tie-ridge, mulching, moisture deficit, sorghum.
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