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2011 (Vol. 3, Issue: 1)
Article Information:

The Effect of Different in-situ Water Conservation Tillage Methods on Growth and Development of Taro (Colocasia esculenta L.)

A.M. Manyatsi, N. Mhazo, M. Mkhatshwa and M.T. Masarirambi
Corresponding Author:  A.M. Manyatsi 

Key words:  Colocasia esculenta, conservation tillage, controlled flooding, soil moisture conservation, , ,
Vol. 3 , (1): 11-18
Submitted Accepted Published
2010 September, 30 2010 October, 20 2011 January, 10

Taro (Colocasia esculenta L.) is an important food crop in the diet of Swazi people. However, there is dearth of information in the country on appropriate agronomic practices which can adequately conserve soil moisture to meet taro crop water requirements. The effects of in-situ water conservation practices on growth, development and yield of taro were investigated. Five in-situ water conservation methods/treatments [tied ridges, ridges, half moon, flat (not irrigated) and flat (irrigated)] were evaluated. The flat (irrigated) treatment served as a control. The experiment was conducted in a sandy clay loam soil at Luyengo. The treatments were laid in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) replicated three times. Each plot measured 5.0 m x 5.0 m with inter-row spacing of 0.9 m and intra- row plant spacing of 0.3 m for flat seedbeds. The ridges were 0.3 m high and 1 m apart, and ties were 0.2 m high spaced at 0.5 m intervals. The half moons had a diameter of 0.5 m. Planting was done in October 2009 using corms. The plants were rainfed, except for the irrigated treatment where irrigation w as done to field capacity when soil moisture matric potential reached 10 bars. Parameters measured included soil moisture, plant emergence, plant height, number of leaves, leaf length and leaf width. Leaf area and Leaf Area Index (LAI) were calculated. The fresh yield of corms was measured at 24 weeks after planting. The results showed plant emergence rate after three weeks being highest under the half moon, at 94% followed in decreasing order by irrigated flat at 90% , tied ridges at 85%, ridges at 82% and lastly flat (not irrigated) at 80%. The various treatments did not show significant (p>0.05) differences in plant height throughout the growing period. However plants grown in irrigated flat plots consistently exhibited significantly (p<0.01) the highest number of leaves compared to other treatments. A similar trend w as also observed with LAI. Taro corm yield were significantly (p<0.01) affected by water conservation method used. The highest yield was obtained from the irrigated flat treatment (11 t/ha), followed in deceasing order by tied ridges (9.14 t/ha), ridges (7.87 t/ha), half moon (6.83) and lastly the lowest yield (4.98 t/ha) was recorded from the rainfed flat treatment. It can be concluded that growth parameters and yield of taro were highest under irrigation of flat land followed in decreasing order by tied-ridges, ridges, half moon and under rainfed flat conditions.
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  Cite this Reference:
A.M. Manyatsi, N. Mhazo, M. Mkhatshwa and M.T. Masarirambi, 2011. The Effect of Different in-situ Water Conservation Tillage Methods on Growth and Development of Taro (Colocasia esculenta L.).  Asian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 3(1): 11-18.
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ISSN (Online):  2041-3890
ISSN (Print):   2041-3882
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