Evaluation of Type and Application Timing of Indigenous Organic Materials on the Productivity of Maize (Zea mays L.) in Guinea Savannah of Ghana
Timing of application of organic materials to seed sowing and the type of material used are fundamental to maximizing nutrient availability and productivity of maize. A pot experiment was carried out at the University for Development Studies, Nyankpala near Tamale to determine (1) the optimum planting date of maize after the incorporation of untreated organic materials (OM) and (2) the effect of different organic materials on maize productivity based on the concept of organic nutrient management. 4 × 5 factorial experiment laid out in a randomized complete block design and replicated thrice was used. The four organic materials used were: Biochar (B), Rice straw (RS), Rice husk (RH) and Grounded groundnut shell (GGS) and the five planting dates were: 7 days after incorporation (DAI) of OM (PD1), 14 DAI of OM (PD2), 21 DAI of OM (PD3), 28 DAI of OM (PD4) and 35 DAI of OM (PD5). 3L pots, each with a surface area of 0.0314m² were filled with soil mixed thoroughly with 156.2g OM, leaving the top 10 cm for watering. Parameters assessed were significantly influenced (P≤0.05) by the application of OM, such that days to seedling emergence, plant height, number of leaves, and total dry matter were optimised with the application of Biochar and Grounded groundnut shells. Rice straw and Rice husk supported the least growth performance of maize. Earliest crop seedling emergence was observed when maize was planted 21 - 35 DAI. Total dry matter production, similar to other measured parameters was optimised at 21 to 35 DAI of OM. Grounded groundnut shell likewise Biochar enhanced the parameters over Rice straw and the least was Rice husk. Resource poor farmers could utilise untreated Grounded groundnut shell and Biochar as organic fertilizer source in crop production when planting is done 21 days after OM incorporation in the Guinea savannah zone of Ghana.
Keywords: Soil fertility, Biochar, Rice straw, Rice husk, Grounded groundnut shells
Copyright (c) 2015 Ghana Journal of Science, Technology and Development
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
As a publisher of the journal, we reserve full copyright ownership of the journal and all submissions published in it.