Evaluation Of Soil Fertility And Maize (Zea Mays L.) Grain Yield Performance Under Conventional And No – Tillage Systems
B. Osundare, H.O. Gbadamosi
Key words: Conventional, fertility, maize, tillage, yield.
ABSTRACT: Tillage has been reported to disrupt soil structural arrangement, which consequently results in soil fertility problems. Consequent upon this, critical assessment of soil fertility and crop performance under tillage treatments is imperative in order to achieve sustainability of agricultural production and environmental quality for future generations. In view of this, a two – year study was carried out at the Teaching and Research Farm of the University of Ado – Ekiti, Ado – Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria, during 2011 and 2012 cropping seasons to determine the effects of tillage methods on the nutrient status of an acid Alfisol and grain yield of maize (Zea mays L.). The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications. The tillage treatments included: Conventional tillage (CT) and no - tillage (NT). The results indicated existence of significant (P = 0.05) differences between the two tillage treatments with respect to their effects on maize grain yield and soil chemical properties. At the end of 2011 cropping season, NT gave soil organic carbon (SOC) value of 0.73 g kg-1, which was significantly higher than 0.20 g kg-1 for its CT counterpart. Similarly, at the end of 2012 cropping season, NT gave SOC value of 0.62 g kg, which was significantly higher than 0.09 g kg-1 for the CT treatment. At the end of 2011 cropping season, NT gave total N value of 0.49 g kg-1, which was significantly higher than 0.23 g kg-1 for the CT. At the end of 2012 cropping season, NT gave total N value of 0.33 g kg-1, which was significantly higher than 0.08 g kg-1 for the CT. At the end of 2011 cropping season, NT gave available P value of 0.34 mg kg-1, which was significantly higher than 0.23 mg kg-1 for the CT. At the end of 2012 cropping season, NT gave available P value of 0.22 mg kg-1, which was significantly higher than 0.09 mg kg-1 for the CT. The mean values of maize grain yield data over the two years of experimentation indicated that CT gave maize grain yield of 2.35 t ha-1, which was significantly (P = 0.05) higher than 2.17 t ha-1 for its NT counterpart. In conclusion, apart from the micro – nutrients and exchangeable Al, no - tillage gave significantly higher values of other nutrients than the conventional tillage treatment at the end of both cropping seasons. Conventional tillage gave significantly higher maize grain yield than its no – tillage treatment counterpart.
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