Accepted 7th July, 2016.
A study of the effects of short term fallow on topsoil properties was carried out at Mbakyaan district, Benue State Nigeria to establish the contribution of short term fallow on soil properties as it influence farming in the area. Random sampling technique was used to locate sampling sites in the selected two year fallow areas that were found in the study area. Topsoil soil at a depth of 0-20cm was considered for soil sample collection in the two year fallow areas and areas that were under continuous cultivation. Twenty five soil samples each were collected from the two year fallow areas and areas that were under continuous cultivation. Soil samples were analysed following Adisa (1998). Results indicate that soil in the two year fallow areas have higher and improved properties than those obtained in the areas under continuous cultivation. However, the difference in their mean values between the two year fallow areas and those under continuous cultivation were not significant. The study concluded that soil should be allowed to fallow no matter the time period hence fallowing improves the quality of soil properties. The study recommends that in spite of land shortages the best way of restoring soil fertility is fallowing and it should be encouraged.
Keywords: short term fallow, topsoil properties, continuous cultivation, farming, soil organic matter.