Farmers, researchers, students, extension specialists and NGOs came together for the inaugural Field Day of the Optimized Shrub System (OSS), an innovative management system developed for rainfed crops in the West African Sahel.
About the OSS
The OSS works by increasing the natural density of two native shrubs (Gueira senegalensis and Piliostigma reticulatum) in farmers’ fields from ~250/ha up to ~1,500/ha and annual incorporation of shrub biomass into the soil instead of the current practice of coppicing the shrubs to the soil surface and burning the residue, depriving soils of much needed organic inputs.
The OSS was developed by School of Environment and Natural Resources Professor Richard Dick in collaboration with scientists from the United States, Senegal and France and Ohio State’s Global Water Institute Program Manager Amanda Davey.
About the Field Day
Hosted at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Agriculture in Thiès (ENSA), Senegal with travel to long-term OSS research plots in the village of Keur Matar, participants learned about the over 20 years of research that shows the OSS dramatically increases soil quality, carbon sequestration, microbial diversity and activity, nutrient and water availability, and increased yields up to three-fold and heard about current research on cowpea crops performance under the OSS.
Barriers to adoption addressed
The socio-economic research uncovered two barriers to adoption of the OSS by farmers - propagation of new shrubs and labor constraints of shrub shredding prior to incorporation back into the soil. Demonstrations to address these barriers were held.
The field day is part of the Ohio-State led, USAID-funded project titled, “Optimized Shrub System (OSS): An innovation for landscape regeneration and improved resilience for the peanut-basin of Senegal.”
Amanda Davey, Program Manager
Global Water Institute at The Ohio State University