Effect of Integrated Chicken Manure and Inorganic Fertilizers on Growth and Yield of Hybrid Maize (Zea Mays. L.) in Malawi

Lusayo A. Mlotha, Josephine P. Ouma, Joyce J. Lelei

Abstract


Fertilizer application is necessary for optimal maize (Zea mays. L) yields in Malawi due to declining soil fertility. Use of inorganic fertilizer is expensive for smallholder farmers. The study was conducted to evaluate effect of integrated organic and inorganic fertilizer utilization on nitrogen uptake, growth and yield of hybrid maize in Malawi. Field experiments were carried out in Lilongwe and Zomba Districts during the 2016/17 growing season. A split plot layout in a randomized complete block design with 3 replicates was used. Maize varieties SC403 and SC627 were the main plots. The sub plots were six fertilizer treatments: (T1); 4 t ha-1 chicken manure (CM), (T2); CM and 22.5 kg N ha-1, (T3); CM and 45 kg N ha-1, (T4); CM and 67.5 kg N ha-1, (T5); CM and 90 kg N ha-1 and (T6); a no fertilizer input control. Urea fertilizer was the source of mineral N. Data on maize height, stem girth, biomass and grain yield was collected and subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) using SAS programme. Mean separation was done using Fishers LSD, at 95% probability level. The study indicated that organic manure and inorganic fertilizer integration significantly (P<0.05) affected maize growth and yield. The maximum maize height and girth were attained by use of CM and 22.5 kg N (T2) which is quarter of recommended fertilizer rate.

Increasing fertilizer rate did not significantly affect maize growth. Fertilizer treatment combination of 4 t ha-1 chicken manure and 90 kg N ha-1 ensured the highest grain yield value of 6.3 t ha-1 but the use of 4 t ha-1CM and 45 kg N ha-1 on SC627 maize variety produced a mean yield of   4.6 t ha-1 which is higher than the average yield of 2.5-3.0 t ha-1 attained by smallholder farmers, besides judicious use of inorganic fertilizer for sustainable maize production.  Thus, the promising combination is fertilizer treatment `T3` (4 t ha-1 CM and 45 kg N ha-1) and SC627 maize variety in boosting maize production for food security affordably by smallholder farmers in Malawi.


Keywords


Maize (Zea mays. L); Chicken manure, Yield.

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