Improving maize productivity and food security through the application of organic amendments with liquid bio-slurry


Zekarias Yohannes, Tarekegn Yoseph*, Alemayehu Kiflu, Tewodros Ayalew and Ashenaf Haile

Increasing maize production is vital for contributing to smallholder farmers' food security since it ranks second in production after wheat. However, the decline in soil fertility is a marked constraint to crop productivity in developing countries, particularly in maize production. Recently, organic amendments through liquid bio-slurry enhanced maize productivity and improved food security via changes in soil physico-chemical properties for smallholder farmers in developing countries like Ethiopia. However, the utilization of liquid bio-slurry as an organic amendment has not been extensively investigated in the study areas. Therefore, field experiments were conducted at two sites to determine the optimum combination of inorganic N and liquid bio-slurry for improving maize productivity. A factorial combination of two mineral N (0 and 46 kg ha-1) and five liquid bio-slurry (0, 6, 12, 18 and 24 t ha-1) rates were used in a randomized complete block design with three replications. The results revealed that the combined use of N and liquid bio-slurry improved the growth and yield of maize in the two experimental sites. Plant height, ear length, number of rows per ear, number of kernels per ear, above-ground dry biomass, hundred-grain weight, grain yield and straw yield of maize were all improved by applying 46 kg N ha-1 along with 18 t liquid bio-slurry ha-1. The highest grain yield (8.12 t ha-1) was achieved from the combined application of 46 kg N ha-1 with 18 t liquid bio-slurry ha-1. Thus, using 46 kg N ha-1 with 18 t liquid bio-slurry ha-1 is highly recommended to increase the yield of maize.

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