A. Nabayi1*, H.A. Santuraki1, A.H. Girei1, N.G. Hayatu2, F.D. Haruna3, S.A. Yusif2, S.A. Lukman2
1Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Federal University Dutse, Jigawa state, PMB 7156, Nigeria
2Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, PMB 2346 Sokoto state, Nigeria
3Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Federal University Dutsinma, Katsina State, PMB 5001, Nigeria
(Manuscript received 10 January 2020; accepted for publication 4 March 2020)
Abstract. Soil structural indices have a significant effect on the nutrients retention and crop yield. Studies on soil structure indices in the semi-arid zone are minimal despite their importance in controlling water and water transmission, root elongation and erosion. A study was conducted in the area of Hadejia to evaluate the influence of tillage systems (TS) and sampling depths on some selected soil structure indices. The TS were four (4); conventional tillage (CT), reduced tillage (RT), zero tillage (ZT) and chisel plough (CP), while the sampling depths were two – 0-15cm and 15-30cm. Randomised complete block design (RCBD) was used in factorial arrangement. The result showed that the soil is sandy loam in texture irrespective of the TS. Lower dispersion ratio (DR) was observed in ZT with greater aggregate silt + clay (ASC) and water stability index (WSI) which differed significantly (p<0.01) from one another. Pearson’s correlation and simple linear regression analysis revealed a significant (p<0.01) positive and negative relationships between organic matter (OM) content of the soil with ASC, WSI and DR, respectively. Negative correlation of OM with DR stressed the significance of OM in decreasing DR of the soil which further explains lower DR by ZT because of greater OM content (p<0.05). Sodium (Na), sodium absorption ratio (SAR) and exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) were in the order of RT>ZT>CT>CP with RT having the highest that differed significantly (p<0.05) from other TS. Lower values in CT and CP could be a result of leaching due to the lower surface residues relative to conservational tillage systems. Conclusively, the best tillage systems to improved soil structural indices are conservation tillage (ZT and RT) systems, particularly ZT.