In semi-arid parts of Kenya, the major threat to food security is declining soil fertility, inadequate and un-reliable rainfall. In order to minimize these challenges, there is need to adopt soil management practices that cope with low rainfall in semi-arid areas. A field experiment was carried out in four seasons at Katumani in Machakos County. The main objective of the study was to determine the effect of tied ridging, fertilizer micro-dosing and cropping systems on soil properties (soil pH and soil organic carbon) and maize yields. The experiment was a 2x4x2 factorial laid in a randomized complete block design (RCBD). The treatments were tied ridging, flat bed planting, farm yard manure 0t/ha, farm yard manure 5 t/ha, 20 kg nitrogen/ha, farm yard manure 5 t/ha + 20 kg N/ha, maize monocrop and maize-cowpea intercrop. The results revealed that the interactions between tied ridging x fertilizer micro-dosing x cropping systems had a significant (P < 0.05) effect on soil organic carbon, soil pH and maize yields. The findings suggest that it is important to integrate different soil management practices in order to maximize maize yields. The effectiveness of tied ridges is affected by the seasonal rain fall variations and that success is more feasible when the rainfall amount is low.
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RUFORUM Working document series