Effect of tillage method and sowing time on phenology, yield and yield components of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) under semi-arid conditions in Kenya
Onyari, Charles N.
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Objective: To determine the phenology, dry matter yield, grain yield and yield components of chickpea under four tillage methods and three sowing times within a semi-arid area of Kenya. Methodology and results: Field experiments were carried out at the National Animal Husbandry Research Centre, Naivasha, Kenya, between 2005 and 2007. Four tillage methods (Conventional, Strip, Furrow tillage, and double digging) and three sowing times (at onset, one week, two weeks after onset of rains) were evaluated. The experiment was a Randomized Complete Block Design replicated thrice in a split plot treatment design with tillage methods as main plots and sowing times allocated to the subplots. Days to 50% flowering and physiological maturity was 61 and 120 respectively irrespective of tillage method or sowing time in both seasons. Shoot biomass varied from 3242.1 to 4231.3 kg ha-1 in Season 1 and 3035.8 to 4556.1 kg ha-1 in Season 2 under tillage treatments, but, no significant differences in season 1 among sowing times. In season 2, the crop sown 2 weeks after onset of rains had significantly lower biomass yield. Plants in strip tilled plots had 36% more pods than other tillage methods in season I but not in 2. Sowing time had no significant effect on number of pods in season 1 but in season 2; the crop sown 2 weeks after the onset of rains had fewer pods. Grain yield was not influenced by tillage method or sowing times in season 1, but in season 2, strip tillage and sowing at the onset of rains yielded significantly higher grain yield than the other respective treatments. Mean grain yield were 1604kg /ha and 1895.95 kg/ha for season 1 and 2 respectively. Conclusion and application: Tillage methods and sowing times independently influenced growth, biomass development, yield components and grain yield in Kabuli chickpea, Var ICCV 95423 under semi-arid conditions in Kenya. The results were season -dependent. Sowing within two weeks after the onset of rains did not significantly lower biomass and grain yield. Strip tillage was superior to conventional tillage in the parameters measured. The time to 50% flowering and 50% maturity were not affected by tillage methods and sowing times. These results indicate that there is good potential for chickpea production (1.4 to 2.5 tonnes/ha) in this area which could be exploited to diversify grain legume production in Kenya.