Plant residues, beneficial microbes and integrated phosphorus management for improving hybrid maize (Zea mays L.) growth and total biomass

Amanullah, Asif Iqbal, Asim Muhammad, Abdel Rahman Altawaha, Azizullah Shah and Brajendra Parmar


Phosphorus (P) unavailability and lack of organic matter in calcareous soils in semiarid climates are the major reasons for low crop productivity. This field experiment was conducted at the Agronomy Research Farm of The University of Agriculture Peshawar, during the summer of 2015 to investigate the impact of plant residues (PR) (faba bean, garlic and paper mulberry residues) and phosphorous sources [(60 and 120kg ha-1) from single super phosphate (SSP) and poultry manure (PM)] with (+) and without (-) phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB) on the phenological development, growth and biomass yield of hybrid maize “CS-200”. Among the PR, application of faba bean residue was found to delay phenological development (days to tasseling, silking and physiological maturity), improved growth (taller plants, higher leaf area per plant and leaf area index) and produced the highest biomass yield (faba bean>garlic>paper mulberry residues). Application of P at the rate of 120kg ha-1 from the inorganic source (SSP) was more beneficial in terms of better growth and higher biomass yield (120-SSP≥120-PM>60-SSP>60-PM kg P ha-1). The plots with (+) PSB showed enhanced phenological development, produced significantly taller plants with higher leaf area per plant and leaf area index and produced the highest biomass yield. On the basis of these results we concluded that the application of faba bean residues, phosphorus at the rate of 120kg ha-1 either from organic or inorganic sources with the inoculation of seed with PSB improved the growth and total biomass of hybrid maize in the study area.

Keywords: Zea mays L, Phenology, Growth, Biomass, Phosphate solubilizing bacteria, Plant Residues

Annals of Tropical Research 43(1):16-34(2021)
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