EFFECT OF STYLO COVER AND N-FERTILIZATION ON SOIL PHYSICAL PROPERTIES, WATER USE AND YIELD OF MAIZE AT SAMARU

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Abstract:

An investigation was carried out at the Institute for Agricultural Research Farm in Samaru, Zaria, during the 1992 rainy season to determine the effect of a stylo cover crop (Stylosanthes hamata) and N-fertilization on soil physical properties, water use and yield of maize. The field on which the trial was conducted was divided into two parts: one part (stylo fallowed) had been under stylo pasture for two years before the treatments of four levels of N- 0, 40, 80 and 120KgNha”1 were imposed. The stylo pasture was also planted as a treatment cover crop. The second part of the field had been under grass fallow for two years before the treatments of only four levels of N were imposed. The treatments were combined and replicated four times giving a total of thirty six plots on the stylo fallowed field and four plots on the grass fallowed field. The design used was the Randomised Complete Block Design, Moisture use was closely monitored to a depth of 130cm by the use of a Neutron Probe moisture meter. Physical properties of the soil were measured both in the field and in the laboratory. The stylo cover was observed to increase infiltration rate, total porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity and lower the bulk density of the soil. N levels did not, however, affect these soil properties. Maize cropped on the stylo fallowed plots used more water than that cropped on the grass fallowed plots, but the maize intercropped with the pasture crop used less water than the sole cropped maize. The intercropped maize was, however, found to have higher water use efficiency than the sole cropped maize. Addition of N significantly increased the crop water use over the no N treatment although the three levels of N produced statistically the same water use. Grain yield was found to be higher on the stylo fallowed than the grass fallowed plots. Addition of N increased the grain yield but. the result was higlily variable.

EFFECT OF STYLO COVER AND N-FERTILIZATION ON SOIL PHYSICAL PROPERTIES, WATER USE AND YIELD OF MAIZE AT SAMARU

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