Influence of Organic Mulches on Soil Physico-Chemical Properties and Maize (Zea Mays L.) Crop Performance.

Edward A. Ampofo

Abstract


Application of organic mulching is soil management practice that seeks to improve soil moisture conservation, increase soil fertility and improve crop production. The study was carried out to quantify the effect of different organic mulches on some soil properties at three crop stages and maize production under coastal savanna condition. Four treatments of mulch; maize stover (MS), dry grass straw (GS), palm frond (PF) mulches at 3 Mg ha-1 each and no-mulch (NM) (control) with three replications were laid out in a complete randomized block design. After two consecutive cropping seasons, different organic mulches had no significant effect on the examined soil properties at the seed emergence stage. However, at both tasseling and harvest stages, the differences of bulk density, total porosity, organic carbon content and macro-nutrients (NPK) among the treatments were significant and were in the order of GS > MS > PF > NM. The germination rate was in the order of NM (91.0%) > MS (89.9%) > GS (87.9%) > PF (86.8%). The effect of mulches on both the plant height and the LAI was in the order of GS > MS > PF > NM. The increase in grain yield over the control were GS= 23 %, MS= 16 % and PF =15 % while that of the WUE relative to the control were 155 %, 122 % and 58 % for GS, MS and PF respectively. Dry grass mulch could be used to improve soil properties and achieve higher maize production in the study area.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jas.v6i2.12771

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Paper Submission E-mail: jas@macrothink.org

Journal of Agricultural Studies   ISSN 2166-0379

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