Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Maize (Zea Mays L) Production in a Semiarid Area of South Africa from Co-Application of Biogas Slurry with Chemical Fertilizer and Effects on Soil Quality

Version 1 : Received: 29 March 2021 / Approved: 30 March 2021 / Online: 30 March 2021 (10:18:06 CEST)

How to cite: Mdlambuzi, T.; Tsubo, M.; Muchaonyerwa, P. Maize (Zea Mays L) Production in a Semiarid Area of South Africa from Co-Application of Biogas Slurry with Chemical Fertilizer and Effects on Soil Quality. Preprints 2021, 2021030725 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202103.0725.v1). Mdlambuzi, T.; Tsubo, M.; Muchaonyerwa, P. Maize (Zea Mays L) Production in a Semiarid Area of South Africa from Co-Application of Biogas Slurry with Chemical Fertilizer and Effects on Soil Quality. Preprints 2021, 2021030725 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202103.0725.v1).

Abstract

Most smallscale farmers still use the traditional way of agricultural crop farming, and relay mostly use of chemical fertilizers (CF). Recently CF have become expensive and could in some way have a negative impact on soil quality after long term application. However, co-application of biogas slurry (BGS) with CF could help reduce farming costs while improving dry matter yields, grain yields, primary macronutrient uptake of (Nitrogen) N, (Phosphorus) P, (Potasium) K, (Calcium) Ca and (Magnesium) Mg and soil concentration of pH, (organic carbon) OC, N, P, K, Ca and Mg after crop harvest. The study was a field experiment conducted in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 growing seasons. The field experiment was arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replicates. The treatments were based on percentages of recommended N rates of 120 kg N ha-1 for maize production. The BGS/CF treatments were (i) 0/0, (ii) 0/120, (iii) 24/96, (iv) 48/72, (v) 72/48, (vi) 96/24, (vii) 120/0 kg N ha-1. The spreading of the combination of BGS/CF treatments was performed by hand and incorporated into the top soil (0-10 cm) in each experimental plots. BGS/CF (48/72) treatment resulted into higher dry matter yield in 2016-2017, which was higher than all other treatment combinations, while in the 2017-2018 season, treatment of (0/120) resulted into higher dry matter than all other treatment combinations. The 48/72 and 0/120 treatments resulted into similar grain yield in 2016-2017 season which were higher than all other treatments. Treatments of 48/72, 72/48 and 120/0 had higher N, P, K, Ca and Mg uptake than 0/0, 0/120, 24/96 and 96/24 treatments in both seasons. Soil pH, total N, K, and Mg were high from the treatment of (120/0) than all other treatments in 2016-2017 while in the 2017-2018 season, treatment of (48/72) had higher OC, P and K after maize harvest. The findings of his study show that co-application of BGS/CF at 48/72 and 72/48 have maize yield benefits compared to the two resources, BGS/CF (120/0) and BGS/CF (0/120), applied separately in soil especially in the arid and semi-arid regions.

Subject Areas

dry matter yield; nutrient uptake; soil nutrient reserves; co-application; grain yield; dryland

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