Journal of
Soil Science and Environmental Management

  • Abbreviation: J. Soil Sci. Environ. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2391
  • DOI: 10.5897/JSSEM
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 307

Full Length Research Paper

Estimation of maize yield gap through soil analysis in small land holding fields at Livingstonia Plateau, Rumphi, Malawi

Bernard Chizengo Gomezgani Kamanga
  • Bernard Chizengo Gomezgani Kamanga
  • Department of Food Security, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Laws Campus, University of Livingstonia, Rumphi, Malawi.
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Deborah Mhone
  • Deborah Mhone
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Laws Campus, University of Livingstonia, Rumphi, Malawi.
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Shekinah Lungu
  • Shekinah Lungu
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Laws Campus, University of Livingstonia, Rumphi, Malawi.
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Matthews Chimbaza
  • Matthews Chimbaza
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Laws Campus, University of Livingstonia, Rumphi, Malawi.
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Shallonie Soko
  • Shallonie Soko
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Laws Campus, University of Livingstonia, Rumphi, Malawi.
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MacPherson Makumba
  • MacPherson Makumba
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Laws Campus, University of Livingstonia, Rumphi, Malawi.
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Elizabeth Kasebele
  • Elizabeth Kasebele
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Laws Campus, University of Livingstonia, Rumphi, Malawi.
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Joseph Kalasa
  • Joseph Kalasa
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Laws Campus, University of Livingstonia, Rumphi, Malawi
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  •  Received: 13 January 2021
  •  Accepted: 06 April 2021
  •  Published: 30 April 2021

Abstract

The study was conducted at Livingstonia Plateau in Rumphi District, Northern Malawi to estimate maize yield gaps through the analysis of soil nutrients during the 2018/2019 growing season. Soil analysis was done for one hundred and fifty soil samples collected from the depth of 0 to 100 at an interval of 20 cm from the top, middle and bottom landscapes of the plateau. Soil nutrients analysis was done at the Ministry of Agriculture Lunyangwa Research Station following appropriate methods. Variables were weeding (no weeding and weeding twice) and application of N fertiliser (0 or 22.5 kg N ha-1). Measurements for grain yield of maize were done in a uniform plot of 10 x 10 m from participating fields in each landscape position. Results showed that soil nutrients varied across the slopes, with the bottom slopes having higher values of the nitrogen (0.1 %) than those on the top (0.05 %). These variations showed varying maize grain yield responses of 0.8  and 0.5 t ha-1 for no fertiliser but weeded and not weeded fields and 1.6 and 1 t ha-1 for fertilised but weeded and not weeded fields, respectively. Maize grain yield gaps were higher (4.4 t ha-1) in landscape position 1 than they were in landscape position 3 (4.0 t ha-1) for the no fertiliser and weeded fields; whereas 3.6 and 3.1 t ha-1 for the fertilised and weeded fields. Working closely with farmers on specific soil and fertiliser management practices for improved crop production is critical.

Key words: Lab quest, landscape, maize yield gap, nutrients, soil samples, slope.