Short-term improved fallows of Tephrosia vogelii and Cajanus cajan enhanced maize productivity and soil chemical properties of a degraded fallow land in Southwestern Ethiopia: BENEFIT-CASCAPE


An improved fallow experiment was established in 2013 to examine the contribution of shrub legume species, Tephrosia vogelii and Cajanus cajan, in improving the productivity of a degraded tropical soil and crop yields compared with traditional fallow. The study was conducted on five farmers’ fields in southwestern Ethiopia laid out in randomized complete block design with farmers as replicates. After 2 years, the amount of aboveground biomass produced was 5–8 t ha-1 for Tephrosia and 3–5 t ha-1 for Cajanus. Maize grain yield was 80% higher for Tephrosia and 41% for Cajanus compared with the traditional fallow. The legume species significantly increased soil pH, organic carbon and total nitrogen levels compared with the natural fallow but there was no significant effect for available phosphorus. The magnitude of fallow benefit from Tephrosia in terms of yield advantage and nitrogen availability could be related to its high biomass production capacity compared to Cajanus. Fallowing with Tephrosia has the potential for improving productivity of degraded tropical soils. Farmers’ responses to the improved fallows were in general positive and their preference was Tephrosia fallow. Farmers can therefore use Tephrosia to enhance soil fertility by increasing N-levels, soil pH and organic matter of the soil. However, phosphate fertilizer is required as basal application to enhance N-fixation by legumes. Read the full report here.

M. Mamuye [1] G. Berecha – CASCAPE Project-Joint Ethio-Netherlands Project, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Jimma – University, PO Box 307, Jimma, Ethiopia

A. Nebiyu (&) – Department of Horticulture and Plant Science, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Jimma University, PO Box 307, Jimma, Ethiopia e-mail:;

E. Elias – Centre for Environmental Science, College of Natural and Computational Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ……Bilateral Ethiopia-Netherlands Partnership for Food, Income and Trade (BENEFIT), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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