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The current study focused on characterization of the underlying genetic divergence in inbred lines developed from local landraces of North Eastern Hill Region of India – a designated Asiatic maize diversity centre – following six generations of inbreeding. Substantial genetic differentiation was indicated based on very high to moderate Fst values for 22 of the 38 simple sequence repeat markers studied. STRUCTURE analysis partitioned the subset into two distinct and one admixture subgroup (Populations I, II and III respectively) accompanied by a significant reduction in heterozygosity. Population II was further subdivided into subpopulations Pop-M9 and Pop-T9. Nei's pairwise genetic distance and population Fst values indicated that Populations I and II were more divergent with neighbour joining clustering analysis clearly defining landraces originating from the states of Tripura (Population II) and Sikkim (Population I) as most divergent. Principal coordinates analysis could explain 31.26% of the variation present in the subgroups wherein Population I was more variable. Analysis of molecular variance and Fst coefficients (P < 0.001) indicated 17% population structuring with 55% variation detected for individuals within populations. These results combined with the presence of phenotypic variability in the subgroups for yield traits supported by results of a preliminary partial diallel analysis strongly suggest the existence of distinct heterotic groups. Divergence studies are crucial for exploiting heterosis, and the current study would go a long way to help establish a germplasm base for developing varieties with improved agronomic performance and surer commercial prospects no reports of which are available thus far.
Striga hermonthica infestation causes significant losses of maize yield in the Nigerian savannas and several technologies have been developed and promoted to control Striga in maize. However, since no single technology has been found to be effective against Striga, integrated management is needed to achieve satisfactory and sustainable Striga control. Both on-station and on-farm trials were undertaken from 2013 to 2015 in Bauchi and Kano States of Nigeria to evaluate the performance of integrated Striga control technologies. In the on-station trials, a soybean–maize rotation did not suppress Striga in maize in either location. However, nitrogen application suppressed and reduced Striga infection, except in Bauchi in 2014. The soybean–maize rotation accompanied by N application reduced Striga damage in both locations. On farmers’ fields, rotating soybean with maize significantly reduced Striga infection. At the same time, the use of maize varieties with a combined tolerance to drought and resistance to Striga parasitism also increased maize grain yield on farmers’ fields, probably due to three factors: a reduction in Striga infection, reduced effects of a mid-season moisture deficit, and increased uptake of nutrients from the soil. We concluded that the use of Striga-resistant maize varieties in combination with the application of N fertilizer and rotation with soybean could increase the productivity of maize in Striga-infested fields in the Nigerian savannas.
This research paper addresses the hypotheses (1) that milk produced from hay-fed cows differs from that of silage-fed cows and (2) that silage type has an important impact, too. Four diets differing in forage type but with equal estimated milk production potential and a forage:concentrate ratio of 0.85 : 0.15 were compared regarding their effect on feed intake, milk yield and milk properties. The forages tested were hay, grass silage, conventional short-chopped and long-chopped maize silage subjected to a novel processing technology (Shredlage®). Twenty-four dairy cows were fed two of the four diets in two consecutive runs in an incomplete (4 × 2) Latin-square design (n = 12 per diet). Each experimental period lasted 22 d, with 12 d of adaptation and 10 d of sampling. During sampling, feed intake and milk yield were recorded daily, milk composition and coagulation properties were determined four times. The composition of the diet ingredients was analysed weekly. Data were analysed with a mixed model considering feed, period and their interaction as fixed effects. Stage of lactation, milk yield and milk composition from the pre-experimental period were used as covariates in the model. Dry matter intake was lower with the long-chopped processed maize silage compared to the other three groups. There were some diet differences in intakes of net energy for lactation and absorbable protein in the duodenum, but this did not result in changes in milk yield. The milk fat content was higher with the grassland-based diets compared to the maize silage diets. No treatment effect on milk acidity and rennet coagulation properties was observed. In conclusion, there were no indications for specific physico-chemical properties of milk from a hay-based diet, and maize processing technology was not of large effect either. Future investigations should focus on sensory differentiation of the milk produced with different forages.
Green manures are a promising alternative for achieving the sustainable production of maize in the face of low soil fertility and increasingly long canicule periods, particularly in rainfed systems associated with the reproduction of local agrobiodiversity. However, it is necessary to investigate what are the advantages and disadvantages associated with different species of native and exotic pulse, as well as their overall contribution to the sustainable production of maize landraces. In order to do so, we followed the MESMIS method to assess five species of pulse (three native and two exotic) grown with maize in two plots with different soil conditions. This was done in the seasons of 2017 and 2018 the municipality of Villa de Zaachila, Oaxaca, a site with remarkable biological, agricultural and cultural diversity. A fully randomized complete block design was implemented with 11 treatments and three repetitions in the two plots. The output variables of the experiment were: land equivalence ratio, interspecific aggressiveness, content of soil organic matter, decomposition rate, plant survival rate and plant dry biomass. We also evaluated quantitative or qualitative indicators of cost, adaptability and contribution to food security. For all the possible maize-pulse combinations, except for one, polyculture outperformed maize and pulse monocultures. Exotic pulses (Crotalaria junscens spp. and Dolicho lablab) had a better performance in biomass, reincorporation of organic matter and possible nitrogen fixation, as well as greater resistance to drought in the second cycle. The native pulses (Phaseolus vulgaris and Phaseolus coccineus), however, had a greater acceptance and economic output and are important for the food security in our study site. Our results provide quantitative and qualitative elements to design combined schemes of green manures associated with maize that would help tackle current challenges regarding maize productivity, food security and response to climate change.
Polyhalite is a multi-nutrient mineral ore containing potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulphur (S). Historically, it has enjoyed minor use as a fertilizer, but the opening of a new mine in the UK will make larger quantities available. Therefore, an examination of the performance of crops fertilized with polyhalite, or selected commercial alternatives, was pertinent and is reported here.
Four field trials were carried out between 2013 and 2016 to investigate the response of winter barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and forage maize (Zea mays L.) to different application rates of polyhalite, potassium chloride (muriate of potash, MOP) and potassium sulphate (sulphate of potash, SOP) fertilizers. Potassium and S nutrition were the focus of these trials as they limit field production more often than Mg and Ca.
Polyhalite was found to be an effective source of both K and S for crop production. In three out of four trials, application of polyhalite resulted in similar or greater K offtake compared with both MOP and SOP; MOP application resulted in greater K offtake in one trial. In three out of four trials, application of polyhalite resulted in similar or better S offtake compared with both MOP and SOP; SOP application resulted in greater S offtake in one trial. Polyhalite and MOP treatments produced similar total dry weight in all four trials, but were slightly inferior to SOP treatment.
The history of maize (Zea mays L.) in the eastern Woodlands remains an important study topic. As currently understood, these histories appear to vary regionally and include scenarios positing an early introduction and an increase in use over hundreds of, if not a thousand, years. In this article, we address the history of maize in the American Bottom region of Illinois and its importance in the development of regional Mississippian societies, specifically in the Cahokian polity located in the central Mississippi River valley. We present new lines of evidence that confirm subsistence-level maize use at Cahokia was introduced rather abruptly at about AD 900 and increased rapidly over the following centuries. Directly dated archaeobotanical maize remains, human and dog skeletal carbon isotope values, and a revised interpretation of the archaeological record support this interpretation. Our results suggest that population increases and the nucleation associated with Cahokia were facilitated by the newly introduced practices of maize cultivation and consumption. Maize should be recognized as having had a key role in providing subsistence security that—combined with social, political, and religious changes—fueled the emergence of Cahokia in AD 1050.
Understanding the effects of crop management practices on weed survival and seed production is imperative in improving long-term weed management strategies, especially for herbicide-resistant weed populations. Kochia [Bassia scoparia (L.) A.J. Scott] is an economically important weed in western North American cropping systems for many reasons, including prolific seed production and evolved resistance to numerous herbicide sites of action. Field studies were conducted in 2014 in a total of four field sites in Wyoming, Montana, and Nebraska to quantify the impact of different crop canopies and herbicide applications on B. scoparia density and seed production. Crops used in this study were spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.), and corn (Zea mays L.). Herbicide treatments included either acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitors effective on non-resistant B. scoparia or a non–ALS inhibiting herbicide effective for both ALS-resistant and ALS-susceptible B. scoparia. Bassia scoparia density midseason was affected more by herbicide choice than by crop canopy, whereas B. scoparia seed production per plant was affected more by crop canopy compared with herbicide treatment. Our results suggest that crop canopy and herbicide treatments were both influential on B. scoparia seed production per unit area, which is likely a key indicator of long-term management success for this annual weed species. The lowest germinable seed production per unit area was observed in spring wheat treated with non–ALS inhibiting herbicides, and the greatest germinable seed production was observed in sugar beet treated with ALS-inhibiting herbicides. The combined effects of crop canopy and herbicide treatment can minimize B. scoparia establishment and seed production.
Well before the green revolution in the 1960s, hybrid maize technology that had originally been developed in the USA spread across the world, starting before the Second World War. This article uses a framework that analyses the type of transfer (materials, knowledge, or capacity), the roles of diverse actors, and farmer demand and its market context, to trace the diffusion of hybrid technology to Latin America, Asia, Europe, and Africa up to 1970. The article also highlights the importance of access to diverse germplasm from the Americas provided by indigenous farmers. A handful of US public institutions promoted the spread of hybrid technology, with US private seed companies sometimes playing a secondary role. However, most cases of successful transfer were led by national scientists embedded in local institutions, who were able to link to local seed systems and farmers. By the mid 1970s, the aggregate impacts of these efforts were of the same magnitude as for the well-known and much publicized green revolution wheat varieties. Nonetheless, adoption of hybrid maize across and within countries was very patchy, relating to differences in scientific capacity, type of farmer, agro-ecology, and complementary investments in seed systems and extension. Consequently, impacts were often highly inequitable.
Afar in Ethiopia is a drought prone area characterized by low rainfall, high temperature and suffering from flash flood emerging from adjacent mountains. We introduced a flood barrier, water spreading weirs (WSWs) in 2015 to convert floods to a productive use and assessed its effect in 2016 and 2017. WSWs resulted in deposition of sediments where sand deposition was higher in the upside of upstream weir whereas silt and clay deposition was prominent at the central location between the two weirs. There was a moisture gradient across farming fields with volumetric water content (VWC) at 20 cm depth varying between 10 and 22% depending on the relative position/distance of fields from the WSWs, consequently, effecting significant difference in yield between fields. There was a positive relationship between VWC made available by WSWs at planting and the yield (P < 0.001, r = 0.76) and biomass productivity (P < 0.005, r = 0.46). WSWs created differing farming zone following soil moisture regime, affecting grain and biomass yield. In good potential zones with high moisture content, the WSW-based farming enabled to produce up to 5 and 15 t ha−1 yr−1 of maize grain and biomass, respectively, while in low potential zones there was a complete crop grain failure. The system enabled pastoralists to produce huge amount of biomass and grain during Belg (short) and Meher (long) growing seasons that was stored and utilized during succeeding dry periods. Furthermore, the practice ensured a visible recovery of degraded rangelands. This was evident from the filling up of the riverbed as well as the two WSW wings with 1 m high and about 450 m length each with fertile sediment from Belg and Meher seasons of 2016 and 2017. Hence, future studies should analyze the sustainability and the potential of flood-based development at large scale.
Sitophilus zeamais is a key pest of stored grains. Its control is made, usually, using synthetic insecticides, despite their negative impacts. Botanical insecticides with fumigant/repellent properties may offer an alternative solution. This work describes the effects of Anethum graveolens, Petroselinum crispum, Foeniculum vulgare and Cuminum cyminum essential oils (EOs) and (S)-carvone, cuminaldehyde, estragole and (+)-fenchone towards adults of S. zeamais. Acute toxicity was assessed by fumigation and topical application. Repellence was evaluated by an area preference bioassay and two-choice test, using maize grains. LC50 determined by fumigation ranged from 51.8 to 535.8 mg L−1 air, with (S)-carvone being the most active. LD50 values for topical applications varied from 23 to 128 µg per adult for (S)-carvone > cuminaldehyde > A. graveolens > C. cyminum > P. crispum. All EOs/standard compounds reduced significantly the percentage of insects attracted to maize grains (65–80%) in the two-choice repellence test, whereas in the area preference bioassay RD50 varied from 1.4 to 45.2 µg cm−2, with cuminaldehyde, (S)-carvone and estragole being strongly repellents. Petroselinum crispum EO and cuminaldehyde affected the nutritional parameters relative growth rate, efficiency conversion index of ingested food and antifeeding effect, displaying antinutritional effects toward S. zeamais. In addition, P. crispum and C. cyminum EOs, as well as cuminaldehyde, showed the highest acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity in vitro (IC50 = 185, 235 and 214.5 µg mL−1, respectively). EOs/standard compounds exhibited acute toxicity, and some treatments showed antinutritional effects towards S. zeamais. Therefore, the tested plant products might be good candidates to be considered to prevent damages caused by this pest.
To investigate whether oral intake of highly branched α-glucan isomaltodextrin (IMD) could stimulate ileal glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) secretion, we examined (1) the digestibility of IMD, (2) the digestion and absorption rates of IMD, in rat small intestine and (3) portal GLP-1 concentration in rats given IMD. In Expt 1, ileorectostomised rats were given a 3 % IMD diet for 10 d. Separately, a 16-h in vitro digestion of IMD, using porcine pancreatic α-amylase and brush-border membrane vesicles from rat small intestine, was conducted. In Expt 2, upon 24-h fasting, rats were given any of glucose, IMD and high-amylose maize starch (HAMS) (1 g/kg of body weight). In Expt 3, caecectomised rats were given 0·2 % neomycin sulphate and a 5 % IMD diet for 10 d. The in vivo and in vitro digestibility of IMD was 70–80 %. The fraction of IMD digested in vitro for the first 120 min was 67 % of that in maize starch. The AUC for 0–120 min of plasma glucose concentration was significantly lower in HAMS group and tended to be lower in IMD group than in the glucose group. Finally, we also observed that, when compared with control rats, glucose of IMD significantly stimulated and improved the concentration of portal active GLP-1 in antibiotic-administered, caecectomised rats. We concluded that IMD was slowly digested and the resulting glucose stimulated GLP-1 secretion in rat small intestine. Oral delivery of slowly released IMD glucose to the small intestine probably exerts important, yet unknown, physiological effects on the recipient.
Diet is a critical component of the mass-rearing of biological control agents, but the impacts of diet are not always immediately obvious and can take several generations to manifest, resulting in poor survival, reproduction, and ability to kill prey under natural conditions. Our present study aimed to investigate the performance of a commercially-reared phytoseiid mite, Amblyseius swirskii, after four (G4) and six (G6) consecutive generations on pollen grains of two plant species, as well as its ability to find and kill its natural prey, Tetranychus urticae, after long-term rearing on each diet. We found no significant difference between the two diets in intrinsic and finite rates in G4. However, both diet and generation exerted a significant influence on the fecundity of A. swirskii. By G6, females reared on almond pollen had greater net reproductive and intrinsic rate compared to those reared on maize pollen. Conversely, A. swirskii fed on maize pollen consumed fewer prey than those reared on other diets, especially at higher prey densities. The findings have important implications for developing the mass-rearing program of A. swirskii on non-prey diets. Further research must explore the suitability of almond pollen in the large-scale culture of A. swirskii.
Field experiments were carried out in order to investigate if brown manuring (BM) using Sesbania plants can be used to control weeds in maize, especially Cyperus rotundus (Experiment I), and further to optimize the BM technology through appropriate Sesbania seed rate (S), 2,4-D application time (T) and dose (D) (Experiment II). Each BM treatment received a pre-emergence application of pendimethalin 1.0 kg a.i./ha. Experiment I showed that the BM practice using 15 kg/ha Sesbania seed and 2,4-D 0.50 kg a.i./ha applied at 25 DAS led to better control of weeds, especially C. rotundus and higher maize grain yield. Further optimization studies (Experiment II) indicated that among the factors S, T and D, the BM combination S~25 kg/ha, D~0.50 kg a.i./ha and T~25 DAS (i.e. S25T25D0.50) resulted in lowest weed density (3.1/m2) and dry weight (3.8 g/m2) and highest weed control index (89.2%) at 60 days after sowing (DAS) which was at par with another BM practice S15T25D0.50. However, the later BM combination led to significantly higher maize productivity (5.25 t/ha) and profitability (net returns (NR) $878/ha), which were 103 and 280% higher, respectively, than the weedy check (WC). The Sesbania seed rate S~15 kg/ha gave 7% higher maize grain yield and 12% higher NR than its corresponding level S~25 kg/ha. Therefore, Sesbania BM with 15 kg seeds/ha and 2,4-D at 0.50 kg a.i/ha applied at 25 DAS can be recommended for effective and eco-friendly weed management in maize, which would provide higher maize grain yield and enhance farmers' profitability.
Physicochemical properties of diets are believed to play a major role in the regulation of digesta transit in the gastrointestinal tract. Starch, being the dominant nutrient in pig diets, strongly influences these properties. We studied transport of digesta solids and liquids through the upper gastrointestinal tract of ninety pigs in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement. Dietary treatments varied in starch source (barley, maize and high-amylose maize) and form (isolated starch, ground cereal and extruded cereal). Mean retention times (MRT) of digesta solids ranged 129–225 min for the stomach and 86–124 min for the small intestine (SI). The MRT of solids consistently exceeded that of liquids in the stomach, but not in the SI. Solid digesta of pigs fed extruded cereals remained 29–75 min shorter in the stomach compared with pigs fed ground cereals (P < 0·001). Shear stress of whole digesta positively correlated with solid digesta MRT in the stomach (r 0·33, P < 0·001), but not in the SI. The saturation ratio (SR), the actual amount of water in stomach digesta as a fraction of the theoretical maximum held by the digesta matrix, explained more variation in digesta MRT than shear stress. The predictability of SR was hampered by the accumulation of large particles in the stomach. In addition, the water-holding capacity of gelatinised starch leads to a decreased SR of diets, but not of stomach digesta, which was caused by gastric hydrolysis of starch. Both of these phenomena hinder the predictability of gastric retention times based on feed properties.
Early-maturing provitamin A (PVA) quality protein maize (QPM) hybrids with combined drought and low soil nitrogen (low-N) tolerance are needed to address malnutrition and food security problems in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The current study's objectives were to (i) examine combining ability of selected early maturing PVA-QPM inbreds for grain yield and other agronomic traits under drought, low-N, optimal environments and across environments, (ii) determine gene action conditioning PVA accumulation under optimal environments, (iii) classify inbreds into heterotic groups and identify testers and (iv) assess yield and stability of hybrids across environments. Ninety-six hybrids generated from 24 inbred lines using the North Carolina Design II together with four commercial hybrid controls were evaluated under drought, low-N and optimal environments in Nigeria in 2016 and 2017. Fifty-four selected hybrids were assayed for PVA carotenoid and tryptophan content. Additive genetic effects were greater than non-additive effects for grain yield and most agronomic traits under each and across environments. The gene action conditioning accumulation of PVA carotenoids under optimal growing conditions followed a pattern similar to that of grain yield and other yield-related traits. The inbred lines were categorized into four heterotic groups consistent with the pedigree records and with TZEIORQ 29 identified as the best male and female tester for heterotic group IV. No tester was found for the other groups. Hybrid TZEIORQ 24 × TZEIORQ 41 was the highest yielding and most stable across environments and should be further tested for consistent performance for commercialization in SSA.
A series of farming experiments was conducted between 2013 and 2017 in Range Creek Canyon, Utah, to better understand the opportunities and constraints faced by prehistoric farmers in the Southwest. The experiments were designed to collect data on the optimal amount of supplemental water that should be applied to maize fields given the costs in labor and benefits in greater yield. We investigate expected variation in water management strategies using an optimal irrigation model (OIM). The model makes clear that the payoff for farming is best understood as a continuum of relative success and that irrigation is one activity (probably of many) that may improve farming efficiency as well as increase harvest yields. The optimal harvest will always be less than the maximum harvest when there are significant operating costs associated with irrigation. Estimating the costs and benefits of irrigation in a specific area allows for an assessment of whether irrigation is expected, and if so, how much effort should be devoted to water management. A local dendroclimatological study is used to provide the prehistoric context for the Fremont who occupied Range Creek Canyon, and irrigation is expected even in periods of greater precipitation.
We compare domestic architectural features in New England and the Maritime Peninsula to investigate the relationship between the adoption of horticulture and its relationship to social and settlement change during the Woodland Period. Horticulture was not practiced on the Maritime Peninsula until after European contact, despite cultural and environmental similarity to New England. In New England, horticulture has been implicated in profound social and settlement changes. However, aggregated villages, a unit typically investigated for evidence of social change, have proven elusive in the archaeological record. We compiled and analyzed a dataset of dwelling features instead of relying on identifiable villages. This novel quantitative approach uses dwelling feature shape and size as a proxy for social and settlement change, considering these changes at the scale of the house. We find that, during the Woodland Period, dwelling size was overall slightly larger in New England than on the Maritime Peninsula, but ranges heavily overlapped. After the introduction of horticulture, however, dwellings in New England grew in size overall and assumed bimodally distinct larger and smaller forms, which likely necessitated a restructuring of social and economic behavior. This pattern correlates maize horticulture with changes in social and economic lifestyle in Late Woodland New England.
The distinctive character of Olmec art and culture within the wider Mesoamerican tradition was only fully recognised in the twentieth century. The authenticity and significance of several aspects of Olmec workmanship and imagery, however, remain the subject of debate. Here, the authors report on an incised stone celt (axe) from southern Mexico, which bears imagery relating it to the Middle Preclassic Olmec of the earlier first millennium BC. The image is interpreted as a Mesoamerican maize deity grasping a corn ear fetish. Originally discovered in 1910, its early date makes the object valuable for confirming debated aspects of Olmec art and culture.
This study aimed to examine in vivo starch digestion kinetics and to unravel the mechanisms of starch hydrolysing enzymes. Ninety pigs (23 (sd 2·1) kg body weight) were assigned to one of nine treatments in a 3×3 factorial arrangement, with starch source (barley, maize, high-amylose (HA) maize) and form (isolated, within cereal matrix, extruded) as factors. We determined starch digestion coefficients (DC), starch breakdown products and digesta retention times in four small-intestinal segments (SI1–4). Starch digestion in SI2 of pigs fed barley and maize, exceeded starch digestion of pigs fed HA maize by 0·20–0·33 DC units (P<0·01). In SI3–4, barley starch were completely digested, whereas the cereal matrix of maize hampered digestion and generated 16 % resistant starch in the small intestine (P<0·001). Extrusion increased the DC of maize and HA maize starch throughout the small intestine but not that of barley (P<0·05). Up to 25 % of starch residuals in the proximal small intestine of pigs was present as glucose and soluble α(1–4) maltodextrins. The high abundance of glucose, maltose and maltotriose in the proximal small intestine indicates activity of brush-border enzymes in the intestinal lumen, which is exceeded by α-amylase activity. Furthermore, we found that in vivo starch digestion exceeded our in vitro predictions for rapidly digested starch, which indicates that the role of the stomach on starch digestion is currently underestimated. Consequently, in vivo glucose release of slowly digestible starch is less gradual than expected, which challenges the prediction quality of the in vitro assay.
Maize (Zea mays L.) grain yield is severely constrained by drought and this study was conducted to assess gains in grain yield and other traits of released maize cultivars. Twenty-three maize cultivars plus a check were evaluated under drought and well-watered conditions at Zaria and Kadawa during 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 dry seasons. The 24 cultivars were evaluated using 6 x 4 lattice design with three replications. Genotypes differed significantly for all measured traits except anthesis-silking interval (ASI), husk cover, and number of ears per plant under drought, and ASI, husk cover, and ear aspect under well-watered conditions. Under drought, grain yield ranged from 2251 kg ha−1 for SAMMAZ 31 to 4938 kg ha−1 for SAMMAZ 19, with a genetic gain of 1.93% yr−1. Under well-watered conditions, grain yield varied from 3082 kg ha−1 for SAMMAZ 37 to 5689 kg ha−1 for SAMMAZ 51, with the same genetic gain found under drought conditions. Grain yield reduction as a result of drought was 28.4% and performance under drought predicted performance under well-watered conditions better than vice versa with regression coefficient value of 0.8. Grain yield had significant correlations with all measured traits under both water conditions, except for husk cover, plant and ear heights under drought. Our data revealed that substantial genetic gains have been made in breeding for high grain yield cultivars under drought and well-watered conditions over a period of 16 years in Nigeria.