Appropriate integrated nutrient management and field water harvesting options for maize production mitigating drought in the semi-arid southern rangelands of eastern Kenya
The southern rangelands of Kenya are prone to frequent droughts leading to serious food shortages. The effect of the farmer practice (flat seedbed), tied-ridging and contour furrows water harvesting techniques and five integrated nutrient management practices on the performance of rain-fed maize was studied at the southern rangelands of Kenya (Kibwezi) during the 2006 short rainy season. Both shelled and unshelled maize yields responded positively to both water harvesting techniques and integrated nutrient management options. Tied-ridging had the highest positive effect on yield. A combined application of manure and inorganic fertilisers at either 5 or 10 t ha
plus 20 kg N plus 20 kg P
had the most positive effect on yields. In the absence of inorganic fertilisers, a minimum of manure at 10 t ha
should be applied on maize. The tied-ridging water harvesting technique should be recommended in the southern rangelands.
Keywords: maize, drought, integrated nutrient management, water harvesting techniques, semi-arid southern rangelands, eastern Kenya