Effects of Level of Tillage on Soil Physical Properties of Benue River, Makurdi Flood Plains
Mohammed K.M.1, Umogbai V.I.2

1Mohammed, K. M., Department of Agricultural and Bio Environmental Engineering, Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Nigeria.
2Umogbai, V.I., Department of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria.

Manuscript received on 20 March 2014 | Revised Manuscript received on 25 March 2014 | Manuscript published on 30 March 2014 | PP: 9-15 | Volume-3 Issue-1, March 2014 | Retrieval Number: F0946012614/2014©BEIESP
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© The Authors. Blue Eyes Intelligence Engineering and Sciences Publication (BEIESP). This is an open access article under the CC-BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)

Abstract: A field experiment was conducted to determine the effects of different levels of soil tillage on soil physical properties of Benue River flood plains in Makurdi zone. The field was laid out in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with four treatments and three replications. The treatments were ploughing and harrowing once (PH), ploughing and harrowing twice (PHH), ploughing and harrowing thrice (PHHH) and no – tillage (NT). A four – wheel drive Massey Ferguson tractor (MF 375 E), 3 – discs Massey Ferguson plough and 14 – discs offset Massey Ferguson harrow were used for the tillage operations. The soil properties studied were infiltration rate, bulk density, moisture content, particle size distribution and soil loss. The experiments were conducted during the cropping season from April to November, 2012. The total rainfall within the period was 928.7 mm. Atmospheric temperatures fluctuated between 32ºC and 39ºC and the relative humidity was between 70 % and 86 %. Results showed that infiltration rates were higher before tillage than after tillage with a mean of 23.8cm/hr. and 3.2cm/hr. before and after respectively. The soil moisture contents in the upper layer (0 – 6 cm) were higher after tillage than before tillage with percentage increase ranging between 55.6 – 87.5%. Conversely, the moisture contents at the lower layer (6 – 12 cm) were higher before tillage than after tillage with the decrease ranging between 64.1 – 77.1 %. Reason for the decrease was due to the ploughing and harrowing which mixes the soil of the drier top with the soil of the wetter lower layer. Bulk density decreases with soil tillage with mean values of 1.48 g/cm3 and 1.42 g/cm3 before and after tillage, respectively. Results of sieve analysis showed that the higher the number of harrowing, the more the values of soil particles that passed through 5 mm sieve and the less values of particles retained on 50 mm sieve. Soil loss was more with the higher number of harrowing.
Keywords: Density, Effect, Infiltration, Moisture, Pulverization, Run  off, Soil, Tillage

Scope of the Article: Concrete Engineering