Effects of Inorganic Fertilisers and Sunnhemp (Crotalaria juncea [L.]) as a Green Manure Crop on Maize (Zea mays [l.]) Growth, Seed Yield and Labour Cost
American Journal of Agriculture and Forestry
Volume 4, Issue 3, May 2016, Pages: 56-63
Received: May 30, 2016; Accepted: Jun. 13, 2016; Published: Jun. 23, 2016
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Authors
Mzwandile P. Mabuza, Crop Production Department, University of Swaziland, Luyengo, Swaziland
Oghenetsavbuko T. Edje, Crop Production Department, University of Swaziland, Luyengo, Swaziland
Gideon N. Shongwe, Crop Production Department, University of Swaziland, Luyengo, Swaziland
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Abstract
Maize is the staple food in Swaziland but there have been shortfalls in production mainly due to the high cost of commercial fertilisers. One possible means of addressing the problem is the use of sunnhemp (Crotalaria juncea L.), a green manuring legume, which is cheap and easy to produce. A field experiment was conducted at the Malkerns Research Station during the 2014/2015 cropping season. The main objective of the study was to evaluate whether sunnhemp can be used as a substitute for inorganic fertilisers. The treatments were (1) maize with 40 kg/ha sunnhemp used as mulch, (2) maize with 80 kg/ha sunnhemp used as mulch, (3) maize with 120 kg/ha sunnhemp used as mulch, (4) maize with 40 kg/ha sunnhemp soil incorporated, (5) maize with 80 kg/ha sunnhemp soil incorporated, (6) maize with 120 kg/ha sunnhemp soil incorporated (7) maize with no fertilisers (8) maize with half rates of inorganic fertilisers and (9) Maize with recommended rates of inorganic fertilisers. The design of the experiment was a randomized complete block design and each treatment was replicated four times. Maize variety SC 403 was used. Data were collected on sunnhemp biomass, cost of placement and rate of mineralisation. Maize data were on growth, yield and yield components. The results on labour cost of placement show that soil incorporation was significantly (P < 0.01) higher than mulching with sunnhemp being 29.8 man-days/ha while it was 18.6 man-days/ha for mulching. The amount of mineralised sunnhemp was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in incorporated sunnhemp than from sunnhemp used as mulch. Maize grown with 120 kg/ha of sunnhemp yielded 7662.7 kg/ha while maize with 40 kg/ha of sunnhemp was lowest with 7251.1 kg/ha, a yield difference of 5.4%. Maize from soil incorporated sunnhemp yielded 7519.3 kg/ha while maize grown with sunnhemp used as mulch was lower with 7325.0 kg/ha, a yield difference of 2.6%. Maize grown with the recommended rates of fertilisers yielded higher than the rest of the treatments, it yielded 8405.7 kg/ha while maize grown with 80 kg/ha of sunnhemp later used as mulch was lowest with 6945.7 kg/ha. It is concluded that labour cost of sunnhemp placement was significantly (P < 0.01) higher for soil incorporation than mulching. Nitrogen mineralisation was significantly (P < 0.05) higher when sunnhemp was incorporated than when used as mulch. It is recommended that farmers grow their maize with 80 kg/ha of sunnhemp and use it as mulch seven weeks after planting.
Keywords
Sunnhemp, Green Manures, Soil Incorporation, Mulching, Mineralisation
To cite this article
Mzwandile P. Mabuza, Oghenetsavbuko T. Edje, Gideon N. Shongwe, Effects of Inorganic Fertilisers and Sunnhemp (Crotalaria juncea [L.]) as a Green Manure Crop on Maize (Zea mays [l.]) Growth, Seed Yield and Labour Cost, American Journal of Agriculture and Forestry. Vol. 4, No. 3, 2016, pp. 56-63. doi: 10.11648/j.ajaf.20160403.11
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Copyright © 2016 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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