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Analysis of Intra and Interseasonal Rainfall Variability and Its Effects on Pearl Millet Yield in a Semiarid Agroclimate: Significance of Scattered Fields and Tied Ridges

1
Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Eberswalder Straße, 84, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
2
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Faculty of Life Sciences, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany
3
Department of Engineering Sciences and Technology, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3003, CHUO KIKUU, Morogoro 3003, Tanzania
4
Crop. Production Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Ulls väg 16, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(3), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030578
Received: 1 February 2019 / Revised: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 17 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Management for Sustainable Food Production)
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Abstract

Establishing food security in sub-Saharan African countries requires a comprehensive and high resolution understanding of the driving factors of crop production. Poor soil and adverse climate conditions are among the major drivers of poor regional crop production. Drought and rainfall variability challenges are not fully being addressed by rainfed producers in semiarid areas. In this study, we analysed the spatiotemporal rainfall variability (STRV) and its effects on pearl millet yield using two seasons of data collected from 38 rain gauge stations scattered randomly in farm plots within a 1500 ha area of semiarid central Tanzania. The STRV effects on pearl millet yield under flat and tied ridge management were analysed. Our results show that seasonal rainfall can vary significantly for neighboring fields at distances of less than 200 m, which impacts yield. The STRV for daily rainfall was found to be more critical than for total seasonal rainfall amounts. Scattering fields can help farmers avoid total harvest loss by obtaining at least some yield from the areas that received adequate rain. The use of tied ridges is recommended to conserve soil moisture and improve yields more than flat cultivation in semiarid areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: spatiotemporal rainfall variability; tied ridges; scattered plots; pearl millet; yield loss spatiotemporal rainfall variability; tied ridges; scattered plots; pearl millet; yield loss
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Silungwe, F.R.; Graef, F.; Bellingrath-Kimura, S.D.; Tumbo, S.D.; Kahimba, F.C.; Lana, M.A. Analysis of Intra and Interseasonal Rainfall Variability and Its Effects on Pearl Millet Yield in a Semiarid Agroclimate: Significance of Scattered Fields and Tied Ridges. Water 2019, 11, 578.

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