Topsoiling and Subsoiling as Rainwater Harvesting Techniques for Arid Climates: a Case Study from Sudan

Shamseddin Musa Ahmed, Ali Adeeb


Yield of rainfed crops has recently showed a declining trend due to rainwater mismanagement aspects rather than water availability per se in Sudan. The objective of this study was to evaluate and recommend the best in situ rainwater harvesting techniques that can ensure sustainable crop productions under arid conditions of the central Sudan. This was done through monitoring of soil moisture content, soil moisture depth, infiltration rate, crop evapotranspiration (ETc), yield and green water footprint. Data collection was lasted for two consecutive experimental seasons, using the 1-factor completely randomize design. The tested in situ rainwater harvesting techniques were topsoiling and subsoiling tillage. The conventional bund rainwater harvesting techniques (locally known as Terraces) coupled with zero tillage that is adopted widely by the local farmers was taken as a control.  It was found that the collected data of both topsoiling and subsoiling superior the control, suggesting that topsoiling and subsoiling were win-win techniques (increasing crop yield and improving soil hydrological properties) under the arid conditions of the central Sudan. This was questioned the current Sudanese governmental believe on the zero tillage for upgrading the rainfed agriculture.


Topsoiling; subsoiling; zero tillage; rainwater harvesting; arid conditions

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