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Improving nutrient use efficiency from decomposing manure and millet yield under Plinthosols in Niger

Fatondji, Dougbedji, Ibrahim, Ali
Nutrient cycling in agroecosystems 2018 v.110 no.3 pp. 485-499
NPK fertilizers, Plinthosols, cattle manure, crops, field experimentation, grain yield, manure spreading, maturity stage, millets, mineral fertilizers, nitrogen, nutrient use efficiency, nutrients, phosphorus, planting, potassium, research institutions, synergism, tillering, tropics, Niger
To improve synchronicity between nutrients released from the decomposing manure with millet nutrient requirement under zaï technique, a 2-year field experiment was conducted at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics Research Station, Sadoré, Niger. The treatments consisted of factorial combination of two rates of cattle manure (200 and 300 g per zaï hole), three periods of manure application (before planting, at planting and 15 days later) and two rates of mineral fertilizer [nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) 15–15–15] applied at 6 g per zaï hole and a control, without mineral fertilizer). Manure dry mass losses did not significantly differ among manure application periods in 2013. However, in 2014 the highest manure dry mass loss occurred when manure was applied before planting with 70% of manure applied being decomposed at millet maturity stage (115 days after litterbag installation) followed by manure applied at planting with almost 50% of dry mass losses. The quantities of N and P absorbed by millet at tillering stage represented, 61, 52 and 33% of N released and 15, 12 and 15% of P released at the same time when manure was applied before planting, at planting and 15 days after planting, respectively. Application of manure before planting increased on an average millet grain yield by 16 and 20% and N utilization efficiency by 25 and 31% compared to application of manure at planting and 15 days after planting respectively. Addition of mineral fertilizer induced a synergetic effect on millet grain yield (p = 0.002). Millet grain yields increased on average by 5, 17 and 57% when 6 g per zaï pit of NPK fertilizer were added to plots receiving manure application before planting, at planting and 15 days after planting, respectively. We conclude that application of manure prior to planting satisfies better millet nutrients demand, thereby increasing nutrient use efficiency and grain yield under zai pits.