Integrated Management of Vertisols for Crop Production in Ethiopia: A Review

Tadesse Debele


In Ethiopia, Vertisols account for 12.6 million hectares, of which about 7.6 million ha found in the highlands and are generally waterlogged due to abundant rainfall during the growing period. These soils are generally hard when dry and sticky when wet, a very low infiltration rate when the surface is sealed, very low saturated hydraulic conductivity and compaction as a result of swelling, and therefore presents serious limitations to their use. Crop production on these soils is limited because of impeded drainage, difficulty of land preparation, soil erosion and low fertility. Long-term adaptations to climate changes on Vertisols management require structural changes to overcome the harsh conditions. Vertisols have considerable productive potential, but they are usually underutilized in the traditional production system. Hence, achieving sustainable and improved management of Vertisols has been a major challenge for Ethiopian farmers for many years. Vertisols management technologies essentially early planting, drainage using BBM, improved variety, and fertilizers application were developed to effectively and efficiently utilize these soils. Early planting of short maturing wheat and teff varieties opened an opportunity for double cropping; excess water drained from the furrows would be utilized for supplemental irrigation. The literatures lines of research on integrated Vertisols management for crop production in Ethiopia were reviewed in this paper.

Keywords: Vertisols, Integrated Fertility Management, Crop Production

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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