The growth and yield of cucumber (Cucumus sativus L.) in response to application of goat dung and poultry dropping rates was investigated in 2010 and 2011. The experiment was laid out in randomized complete block design replicated three times in a split plot arrangement. The main plot treatment was organic manure source (goat dung and poultry dropping) while organic manure rate, 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8t/ha constituted the sub-treatments. Results revealed that organic manure application would enhance growth and yield of cucumber. There was no significantly (p<0.05) different between application of cattle dung and poultry dropping on growth and yield parameters except on leaf area. The result also showed significantly (p<0.05) different among the manure rates irrespective of manure source. Application of poultry dropping performed best in fresh fruit yield 7.66 and 7.73t/ha in 2010 and 2011 respectively while cattle dung produced 6.81 and 6.82t/ha in 2010 and 2011 respectively. The application of 8t/ha of poultry manure produced fresh fruits of 11.25 and 11.29t/ha in 2010 and 2011 respectively while cattle dung at 8t/ha rate produced 9.53 and 9.69t/ha of fresh fruit in 2010 and 2011 respectively.



1.1   Background of the Study

Cucumber (Cucumbis sativus), is an important vegetable and one of the most popular members of the Cucurbitaceae family (Lower and Edwards, 1986; Thoa, 1998). It is thought to be one of the oldest vegetables cultivated by man with historical records dating back5,000 years (Wehner and Guner, 2004). The crop is the fourth most important vegetable after tomato, cabbage and onion in Asia (Tatlioglu, 1997), the second most important vegetable crop after tomato in Western Europe (Phu, 1997). In tropical Africa, its place has not been ranked because of limited use. Fertile soils are used for the cultivation of cucumber; infertile soils result in bitter and misshapen fruits which are often rejected by consumers. Bush fallowing has been an efficient, balanced and sustainable agricultural system for soil productivity and fertility restoration in the tropics (Ayoola and Adeniran, 2006), but as a result of increase in the population, the fallowing periods have decreased from ten years to three years and this has hadan adverse effect on the fertility restoration leading to poor yields of crops. Therefore, the use of external inputsin the form of farmyard manures and fertilizer has become imperative.

Farmyard manure has been used as a soil conditioner since ancient times and its benefit have not been fully harnessed due to large quantities required in order to satisfy the nutritional needs of crops (Makinde et al., 2007). The need for renewable forms of energy and reduced cost of fertilizing crops, have revived the use of organic manures worldwide (Ayoola and Adeniran, 2006). Improvement in environmental conditions and public health are important reasons for advocating increased use of organic materials (Ojeniyi, 2000; Maritus and Vleic, 2001). However, because it is bulky, the cost of transportation and handling constitute a constraint to its use by peasant farmers. Farmyard manure release nutrients slowly and steadily and activates soil microbial biomass (Ayuso et al., 1996;Belay et al., 2001). Organic manures can sustain cropping systems through better nutrient recycling and improvement of soil physical attributes (El-Shakweer etal., 1998). The use of inorganic fertilizer has not beenhelpful under intensive agriculture because of its high cost and it is often associated with reduced crop yields, soil degradation, nutrient imbalance and acidity (Obi and Ebo, 1995).The complementary use of organic and inorganic fertilizers has been recommended for sustenance of long term cropping in the tropics (Ipimoroti et al., 2002).  This study was therefore conducted to investigate theeffect of different rates of cattle dung on soil physiochemical properties and growth and yield of cucumber.