EFFECTS OF FERTILIZERS ON SOIL MICROBIAL DIVERSITY, GROWTH AND YIELD OF TWO FORAGE GRASSES ( Panicum maximum and Sorghum almum)

EFFECTS OF FERTILIZERS ON SOIL MICROBIAL DIVERSITY, GROWTH AND YIELD OF TWO FORAGE GRASSES ( Panicum maximum and Sorghum almum)

ABSTRACT

A 6 month study was conducted in the screen house and laboratory of the Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Benin, Benin City. The objective was to ascertain the effects of fertilizers on soil microbial diversity growth and yield of two forage grasses. The experiment was set up in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD) arrangement. There were 10 factorial treatments, made up from five fertilizers (Control, Anthropogenic liquid waste (1:3 and 1:6 dilutions), NPK(15:15:15) and cattle dung) and two forage grasses (Sorghum almum and Panicum maximum) replicated three times. The parameters measured were sward height, sward regrowth, fresh and dry herbage yields. Serial dilution of the fertilized soils was carried out to enumerate the microbial populations. Generally, anthropogenic liquid waste (1:3) and NPK(15:15:15) were equal in performance and better than the other fertilizers in terms of herbage growth (sward height and sward regrowth). Anthropogenic liquid waste (1:3) produced the significantly highest fresh and dry herbage yields among the fertilizers. Furthermore anthropogenic liquid waste (1:3) favoured the highest proliferation of microbes. The favourable response of the grasses and the higher microbial population in the soils treated with Anthropogenic liquid waste implies that this fertilizer contains high quantities of readily available plant nutrients.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Soil is the habitat of an adverse array of organisms that include both micro flora and micro fauna. Soil microorganisms play an important role in soil fertility. They carry out biochemical transformations and are also important sources and sinks of mineral nutrients (Jenkison and Gadd, 1981). An understanding of microbial processes is important for the management of farming systems that rely on organic matter as source of nutrients (Smith and Paul, 1990). The soil microbial community is involved in nutrient cycling, organic matter decomposition and plays a crucial role in terrestrial carbon cycling (Schimel, 1995).The microbial community is a very reactive ecosystem with rapid growth and turnover (Panikov, 1999).

Fertilizer may directly stimulate an increase in microbial population through nutrient supply or may affect the composition of individual microbial communities in the soil (Khonje et al.,1989). The application of chemical fertilizer improves crop production while enhancing the activities of soil microbes. However, there are concerns about the severe environmental problems posed by fertilization and also about the long term sustainability of inorganic fertilization (Mueder et al., 2002),

The use of organic materials (cattle dung, poultry dung, crop residues etc) as alternative sources of fertilizer holds promise. Cattle dung has the potential benefit of improving soil structure (Reganoid et al., 1987; Pullenman et al., 2003) and enhancing soil microbial activities (Doles et al., 2001). However with the limited number of intensive livestock farms and increase in commercial cropping systems, the use of cattle dung as fertilizer has become inadequate. Furthermore, the prolonged period of curing, ability to spread weeds and high labour required for the application makes the use of cattle dung inadequate. There are other organic materials that may be used for fertilization with less logistic difficulties as those posed by cattle dung usage. Anthropogenic liquid waste or human urine contains appreciable quantities of plant nutrients especially nitrogen and other macro-nutrients in readily available forms. Although there are social hesitations among Nigerians regarding the use of human urine in agriculture, anthropogenic liquid waste has been successfully used in agriculture in Asia (Wolgast,1993)

.1.1 Justification for the Study

Due to shortage in both inorganic and organic fertilizers, coupled with indiscriminate disposal of human wastes in the environment, the recycling of anthropogenic wastes for agriculture offers a promising alternative source of fertilizer for crops. However, very little research has been conducted with anthropogenic liquid wastes as fertilizer for crops.

Tropical grasses like Panicum maximum and Sorghum almum have the ability to produce high yield and high nutrient quality when treated with fertilizer. Fertilization is one of the common practices that can increase both forage production and nutritive value (Harding, 2005). Anthropogenic liquid waste could be used to grow high quality pasture grasses to complement current emphasis on increased livestock and dairy cattle production in Nigeria. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect fertilizers (cattle dung, NPK fertilizer and anthropogenic liquid waste) on soil microbial diversity, growth and yield of Panicum maximum and Sorghum almum .

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EFFECTS OF FERTILIZERS ON SOIL MICROBIAL DIVERSITY, GROWTH AND YIELD OF TWO FORAGE GRASSES ( Panicum maximum and Sorghum almum)

DISTRIBUTION OF MICRO NUTRIENTS IN COASTAL PLAIN SAND PARENT MATERIAL

DISTRIBUTION OF MICRO NUTRIENTS IN COASTAL PLAIN SAND PARENT MATERIAL

ABSTRACT

Micro nutrients are essential for good crop performance. There is little or no quantitative data on the content and distribution of micro nutrients in soils of Edo State, particularly those derived from coastal plain sand parent material. A study was therefore undertaken to: (1) characterize the soil (2) provide information on the total and available forms of copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), Iron (Fe) and Zinc (Zn) and Nickel (Ni) in soils developed on coastal plain sand parent material in Edo State (3) show the relationship if any, between micro nutrients and soil’s physico-chemical properties.
Soil samples were collected at two depths, 0-15 cm and 15-30 cm at each of the study sites (NIFOR, UNIBEN Gmelina plantation and RRIN). The soils were characterized, total and available micronutrients were determined and simple correlation was run to show the relationship, if any between micronutrients and soil physico-chemical properties.
The soils, which decreased with depth, were generally sandy with sand accounting for up to 90 % of the particle size distribution. Clay content increased with depth with the possibility of an argillic horizon. pH ranged from medium acidic to neutral, organic matter, total nitrogen an available phosphorus were low. Exchangeable cations were also low with calcium dominating the cation exchange complex.

Total Fe ranged from 1.53-8.09 mg/kg, available Fe ranged from 0.49-2.59 mg/kg. Total Mn ranged from 1.06-3.62 mg/kg, available Mn ranged from 0.68-2.32 mg/kg. Total Zn ranged from 1.26-3.87 mg/kg, available Zn ranged from0.40-2.48 mg/kg. Total Cu ranged from 0.33-1.28 mg/kg, available Cu ranged from 0.21-0.82 mg/kg. Total Ni ranged from 0.33-3.83 mg/kg, available Ni ranged from 0.02-2.46 mg/kg in all locations. There were varied significant correlations between micronutrients with the exception of Ni with sand, clay and calcium, while varied significant correlations between Mn, Zn and Cu and organic carbon, magnesium and hydrogen.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Soil is an important natural resource for agricultural and industrial development of a nation. It has numerous functions some of which are provision of anchorage to growing plants, provision or supply of nutrients and water to crops. Optimum utilization of the soil for agricultural production is possible as long as the soil is stable and well supplied with nutrients, air and water. (Osuji and Onojake, 2006).

An essential nutrient is the nutrient without which the plant cannot complete its life cycle; its functions are primarily, that of transforming photo-energy into chemical energy (FAO, 1983) and of synthesizing a whole variety of substance which make living vegetable matter. Micronutrients are part of these essential nutrients. Although they are needed in trace quantities, it does not affect their significance in plant nutrition.

Eight of the eighteen elements that are essential for plant growth are micronutrients. They are Boron (B), Chlorine (Cl), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Molybdenum (Mo), Zinc (Zn) and Nickel (Ni) plus others that are considered to be beneficial (Cobalt (Co), Sodium (Na), Silicon (Si) and Vanadium (V)). (Penney, 2014). Research attention on micronutrients is recent in areas where intensive agriculture practices bring up the deficiencies. In soils with micronutrient deficiencies, the application of small quantities of these nutrients enhance crop production (Welch 1995, Mortvedt, 2003) while large quantities added to the soil may be harmful (toxic) to the plants and animal consuming the forage. This is unlike countries where shifting cultivation is a dominant practice and micronutrient deficiency problems have not been given much attention. This is probably because nutrient recycling through leaf litter decomposition maintains the required level of the micronutrients. Therefore, it is important to know the original concentration of micronutrients in the soils and add only as much of the micronutrients as is beneficial to plants and foraging animals.

The replenishment of micronutrients through fertilizer is still in its infancy in Nigeria. Fertilizer applications in Nigeria involves only the macronutrients even though cropping (and harvesting), erosion and leaching deplete soil of micronutrients which should be replenished by the return of organic materials such as crop residues, farm yard manure and compost.

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DISTRIBUTION OF MICRO NUTRIENTS IN COASTAL PLAIN SAND PARENT MATERIAL

EVALUATION OF THE MACRO-NUTRIENT STATUS OF THE CURRENT FIELD PRACTICAL TRAINING (305) EXPERIMENTAL FARMSITE,

EVALUATION OF THE MACRO-NUTRIENT STATUS OF THE CURRENT FIELD PRACTICAL TRAINING (305) EXPERIMENTAL FARMSITE,

ABSTRACT

The current 305 Field Practical Training Farm site of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Benin (Ugbowo), Benin City, Edo state in Nigeria was selected for the study. It has been used for cropping (sole and intercropping) over 12 years were analyzed chemically for the evaluation of basic soil parameters viz., pH, EC, OC and macro nutrients such as N, P,K and S by using standard methods. Five locations were selected and five different composite samples for the five locations (0-15cm) each were taken and bulked into five. These were further analyzed for chemical properties and available N, P, K and S status. Results revealed that the soil was low in nutrient when compared to critical levels The Organic carbon, available N, Ca and K were low while the P content was high. The available S was quite high ranging from 5.88-10.47mg/kg.

pH values were acidic within the range (4.6-5.6) while organic carbon percentage ranged from 1.02-1.57% in surface soils and increased with increasing depth. The Electrical Conductivity (EC) level ranged from 48.70-208g/kg. The concentration of the exchangeable cations were all in a decreasing order of magnitude; Ca++ >Mg++>Na+>K+. The percentage Base Saturation were generally low and rarely exceeding 28%. Available phosphorus ranged from 1.55-20.20mg/kg. Total Nitrogen 0.02-0.09% while exchange-acidity ranged from 0.05-1.00Cmol/kg. However, adequate measures are required to enrich the status of the top soil to increase productivity.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO STUDY

Soil fertility is one of the important factors controlling yields of the crops. Introduction of high yielding varieties (HYV) in Nigeria Agriculture in mid-sixties compelled the farmers to use high doses of NPK fertilizers. These are needed in relatively large amounts. The soil must supply macro nutrients for desired growth of plants and synthesis of human food. However, exploitive nature of modern agriculture involving use of organic manures and less recycling of crop residues are important factors contributing towards accelerated exhaustion of macro nutrients from the soil. The deficiencies of macro nutrients have become major constraints to productivity, stability and sustainability of soils. Soils with finer particles and with higher organic matter can generally provide a greater reserve of these elements whereas, coarse textured soils such as, sand have fewer reserves and tend to get depleted rather quickly.

Soil characterization in relation to evaluation of fertility status of the soils of an area or region is an important aspect in context of sustainable agricultural production. Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur are important soil elements that control its fertility and yields of the crops. Because of imbalanced and inadequate fertilizer use coupled with low efficiency of other inputs, the response (production) efficiency of chemical fertilizer nutrients has declined tremendously under intensive agriculture in recent years. Variation in nutrient supply is natural phenomenon and some of them may be sufficient where others deficient. The stagnation in crop productivity cannot be boosted without judicious use of macro nutrient fertilizers to overcome existing deficiencies/imbalances.

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Soil macro nutrients (i.e., Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K)) are essential to plants (H. Marschner, 1995). They provide nutrients necessary for plant growth, which are important to maintain ecosystems and high crop yields. However, macronutrients, particularly N, and P can be potentially hazardous to water resources when their available components in soils are excessive, because available macronutrients can be transported off site in runoff due to rain or irrigation (T. Matoh, (2004), V. H. Smith,etal (1998). Improper or excessive fertilization has increasingly become a serious problem and the eutrophication problem caused by the losses of N and P from farmland to water bodies has caught people’s attentions (A. Sharpley, (1995), Y. Chen,etal(2010). Therefore, proper management of soil N, P, and K is necessary to avoid deteriorating the environment while meeting the requirement of high crop productivity. In addition, reducing the losses of macro nutrients from farmland also can save the costs spent on fertilizers. Most of macro nutrient contents exist in fixed forms in soils (e.g., contained in organic matter and minerals) and thus cannot be directly utilized by plants or transported to water bodies. Part of fertilizers applied to soil also can be fixed by soil and thus become unavailable to plants. This means that the total content of a macro nutrient in soil is only a potentially available content in a long term, rather than its currently available content. Apparently the total content and the available content of a macro nutrient are two different measures for the macro nutrient in soil, and it is the availability ratio (i.e., available concentration/total concentration) that represents the potential effectiveness of a specific macro nutrient in soil. That is to say, all the three indices may be necessary to understand the general situation of a macro nutrient in soil. It is, therefore, important to investigate the spatial variability of availability ratios of soil macro nutrients and corresponding controlling factors so that proper measures may be taken to modify the availability of the macro nutrients for site-specific management. The information on availability of macro nutrients of the study area is meager. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to know the macro nutrients status of soils of the Current Field Practical Training (305) Farm site of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Benin (Ugbowo), Benin City, Edo state in Nigeria and an attempt was also made to correlate macro nutrients content of the soils with other soil properties.

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EVALUATION OF THE MACRO-NUTRIENT STATUS OF THE CURRENT FIELD PRACTICAL TRAINING (305) EXPERIMENTAL FARMSITE,

EFFECT OF N:P:K AND POUTRY MANURE ON POPULATION OF RHIZOBIA BACTERIA, GROWTH AND YIELD OF COWPEA.

EFFECT OF N:P:K AND POUTRY MANURE ON POPULATION OF RHIZOBIA BACTERIA, GROWTH AND YIELD OF COWPEA.

ABSTRACT

This project was carried out at government reservation area (GRA) Benin city Edo state Nigeria. It was a field experiments with four treatments replicated four times. This was carried out in plot of land measuring 3.1m by 4.1m. 1kg of poultry manure was added in treatment 2 and 3. 15.78g of NPK 15:15:15 representing 100kg/ha was applied in treatment 1 and 3. The effects on height , girth , leaf area , leaf number and nodulation of cowpea plants and also it’s effects on rhizobia bacteria was tested. No significant difference was found in the height, girth, leaf area and leaf numbers of the cowpea plants from the above treatments. However better performance was observed in the combined treatment of N.P.K and poultry manure although not significantly different from others. This was followed by sole application of poultry manure. The nodulation of cowpea roots was found to be enhanced by the combined treatment, and sole application of poultry manure which was significantly different from sole application of N.P.K and control. Microbial count of the rhizobial bacteria was also carried out. Combined treatment of N.P.K and poultry manure gave maximum number of four isolates with microbial count of 61. Sole application of poultry manure and N.P.K gave 3 isolates each with microbial count of 46 and 33 respectively while control gave only 2 isolates with microbial count of 23.

CHAPTER ONE

1.0INTRODUCTION

Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) is a leguminious crop with a very vast importance and plays an active role in maintaining the ecosystem, nutrient requirement and the economy of many countries. A considerable amount of cowpea of more than 5.4 million tons are produced in the world annually with Africa producing nearly 5.2 million tons and Nigeria recorded as the greatest producers accounting for about 61% of cowpea production in Africa and 58% of the world cowpea production [IITA, 2009].
According to Wikipedia on Cowpea (2012), and IITA,( 2009); cowpea is one of the most important food legume crop in the semi arid tropics covering Asia, Africa, Southern Europe, and Central America and originated and domesticated in Southern Africa and Asia. [wikipedia/cowpea, 2012. IITA, 2009].
However, some constraint such as agro-ecological constraint, cultivation in marginal and sub marginal land, unpredictable and poor distributed rainfall, lack of soil fertility, seasonal constraint, low productivity, susceptible to pest and disease, flower shedding, tendril formation, lack of adaptive high yielding varieties have been reported to inhibit production of cowpea in some area [Maria et.al,2008].
The practice of shift cultivation to improve soil fertility and enhance production can no longer be sustained due to rapid increase in the world population. Therefore it is necessary to device an improved ways by which the soil fertility can be improved and sustained within the posible shortest time to ensure continual productivity.[ Ayoola et.al 2007]. The use of cover crop such as cowpea have been known to improve the physical , chemical and biological properties of soil.
N:P:K, a mineral fertilizer produced artificially consisting of equal proportion of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium which are primary macro minerals essential for optimum growth and development of plants. And also used to enhance the productivity of soil.
Poultry manure is an organic manure composed of feacal waste from domesticated birds [poultry] and wood shavings which is added to the soil to enhance the biological , physical and nutrient status of the soil. Rhizobia are group of bacteria that forms association with the legumes and fix free atmospheric nitrogen to form useable by plants [Ovstyna,2005]. These organisms are usually enhanced by the presence of leguminious plants and organic matter in the soil [FAO, 2005].
Plants obtain nutrient from two natural sources i.e organic matter and inorganic minerals. Organic matter e.g poultry manure release its minerals to the soil through decomposition [FAO,2005]. In the decomposition process, both the soil nutrient and organism present in the soil is increased[Ingham,2000] And according to them, only carefully selected diversified cropping system or well managed mixed crop livestock system are able to maintain a balance in nutrient and organic matter supply and removal.
Changes in land use associated with deforestation and inappropriate land use management has had a negative impact on approximately 2 billion hectares of agricultural land [Pinstrup-Anderson and Pandy Lorch 1998]. Hence, need to improve the soil with organic and inorganic manure to bring about increased productivity. Some other researchers said that land degradation result in the productive decline of soil and can be attributed to changes in the physical, chemical [minerals], and biological attributes from some ideal state brought about by natural or anthropogenic influences [Latham 1994, Lal 1990].

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EFFECT OF N:P:K AND POUTRY MANURE ON POPULATION OF RHIZOBIA BACTERIA, GROWTH AND YIELD OF COWPEA.