Tied-ridging and fertilizer use for sorghum production in semi-arid Ethiopia

Tewodros Mesfin, Gebreyesus Brhane Tesfahunegn, Charles S. Wortmann, Olani Nikus, Martha Mamo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] yield is often constrained by low soil water and nutrient availability in Ethiopia. The integration of tied-ridging for water conservation with fertilizer application in semi-arid sorghum production areas of northern and central Ethiopia was evaluated in five trials in 2005-2007. Three tillage practices and four fertilizer application treatments were evaluated in a complete factorial. The tillage practices included tied-ridging before (TRbr) and after (TRr) the on-set of rains, and shilshalo, a traditional ridging practice for preventing runoff and controlling weeds practiced with the traditional oxen-drawn plow. The fertilizer treatments (N-P) were 0-0, 10-10, 22-0, and 32-10 kg ha-1. Grain yield was increased over shilshalo with tied-ridging by 6-45%. Grain yield was increased by 26% with pre-plant application of N plus P and by 16% with side-dress N application in central Ethiopia, but yield was not increased in the northern Ethiopia trials. Tied-ridging did not increase the yield response to nutrient application. Tied-ridging before or after on-set of rains was found to be equally effective in increasing yields and should be considered for sorghum production in semi-arid areas of northern and central Ethiopia. Response to applied N and P was probably constrained by soil water deficits, even with tied-ridging and especially in the drier environments of northern Ethiopia. Application of N and P should be considered if mean yield levels are above 2.5 Mg ha-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalNutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Harvest index
  • Micro-basin tillage
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Soil fertility
  • Soil water
  • Water harvesting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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