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Soybean is a food security crop in Benin due to its high nutritional value but its yield in the farmers’ cropping system is very low. The present study aims to provide appropriate response to the yield variability among fields in two agro-ecological zones of Benin namely: Southern Borgou zone (AEZ 3 in the north) and cotton zone of central Benin (AEZ 5). Soil samples were collected from 0-20 cm depth in 120 fields (50 in the AEZ 3 and 70 in the AEZ 5). pH (water), soil organic carbon (Walkley and Black method), total nitrogen (Kjeldahl method), CEC (0.01 N ammonium acetate at pH 7 method) and available phosphorus (Bray 1) were determined in the laboratory of Soil Science Water and Environment (LSSEE) of the National Agricultural Research Institute of Benin (INRAB). Cropping system (crop rotations, soil fertility management practices) were also collected using an open ended questionnaire. Classification and regression trees (CARTs) models were used for data analyses. Soybean yield variability among the agro-ecological zones were registered and the highest yield recorded was less than 1 t.ha-1. Considering soil characteristics, soil organic matter level was the most important variable determining yield variability. Furthermore, quantities of P applied and farmyard manure were cropping practices inducing yield variability (86.4% and 15% of the variability respectively). Our results also show that, yield differences noticed among the agro-ecological zones were induced by CEC and pH (water). The study suggested promotion of integrated soil fertility management practices to sustain soybean yield in the study area.
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