Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Effect of Rainfall Variability on the Maize Varieties Grown in a Changing Climate: A Case of Smallholder Farming in Hwedza, Zimbabwe

Version 1 : Received: 8 September 2018 / Approved: 10 September 2018 / Online: 10 September 2018 (06:13:47 CEST)

How to cite: Mugiyo, H.; Mhizha, T.; Mabhaudhi, T. Effect of Rainfall Variability on the Maize Varieties Grown in a Changing Climate: A Case of Smallholder Farming in Hwedza, Zimbabwe. Preprints 2018, 2018090152 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201809.0152.v1). Mugiyo, H.; Mhizha, T.; Mabhaudhi, T. Effect of Rainfall Variability on the Maize Varieties Grown in a Changing Climate: A Case of Smallholder Farming in Hwedza, Zimbabwe. Preprints 2018, 2018090152 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201809.0152.v1).

Abstract

Rain-fed maize production has significantly declined in Zimbabwe especially in semi-arid and arid areas causing food insecurity. Erratic rainfall received associated with mid-season dry spells largely contribute to low and variable maize yields. This study involved a survey of current farmers’ cropping practices, analyses of climatic data (daily rainfall and daily minimum and maximum temperature) of Hwedza station and simulation of maize yield response to climate change using DSSAT CERES crop growth simulation model. The climatic and maize yield data was analysed using mean correlation and regression analyses to establish relationships between rainfall characteristics and maize yield in the study area. Survey results showed that maize was the staple food grown by 100% of the farming households while 8.7% also grew sorghum. The survey concludes that 56.2% of the farmers grew short season varieties, 40.2% medium season varieties and 3.6% long season varieties. The result of the correlation analysis of climatic data and maize yield showed that number of rain days had strong positive relationship (r = 0.7) with maize yield. Non-significant yield differences (p > 0.05) between maize cultivar and planting date criteria were obtained. Highest yields were obtained under the combination of medium season maize cultivar and the DEPTH criterion in all simulations. The range of simulated district average yields of 0.4 t/ha to 1.8 t/ha formed the basis for the development of an operational decision support tool (cropping calendar).

Subject Areas

crop modelling; DSSAT; climate variability; survey; maize; crop guidelines/cropping calendar

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Comment 1
Received: 10 September 2018
Commenter: Takudzwa Mukwedeya
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: Farmers experience and modelling is the way to go. Good analysis but if possible include space data since you only used one insutu station.
I recommend other studies to use space data to improve the coverage.
THE STUDY IS ACCEPTABLE
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Comment 2
Received: 10 September 2018
Commenter: Tatenda Mukwedeya
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: ITS OK
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Comment 3
Received: 10 September 2018
Commenter: Takudzwa Mandizvo
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: I declare that there is no conflict of interest
Comment: I recently had the good fortune of reading your article regarding "Effect of rainfall variability on the maize varieties. It is well-written in a clear and concise manner and contained sound, practical advice. In fact, I have already benefited from your discussion on using spatial data to come up with cropping guidelines. I look forward to reading your next informative work.
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