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EFFECTS OF FERTILIZERS ON SOIL MICROBIAL DIVERSITY, GROWTH AND YIELD OF TWO FORAGE GRASSES ( PANICUM MAXIMUM AND SORGHUM ALMUM)

Format: MS WORD  |  Chapter: 1-5  |  Pages: 67  |  2725 Users found this project useful  |  Price NGN5,000

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EFFECTS OF FERTILIZERS ON SOIL MICROBIAL DIVERSITY, GROWTH AND YIELD OF TWO FORAGE GRASSES (Panicum maximum and Sorghum almum)

 

ABSTRACT

A 6 month study was conducted in the screen house and laboratory of the Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Benin, Benin City. The objective was to ascertain the effects of fertilizers on soil microbial diversity growth and yield of two forage grasses. The experiment was set up in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD) arrangement. There were 10 factorial treatments, made up from five fertilizers (Control, Anthropogenic liquid waste (1:3 and 1:6 dilutions), NPK(15:15:15) and cattle dung) and two forage grasses (Sorghum almum and Panicum maximum) replicated three times. The parameters measured were sward height, sward regrowth, fresh and dry herbage yields. Serial dilution of the fertilized soils was carried out to enumerate the microbial populations. Generally, anthropogenic liquid waste (1:3) and NPK(15:15:15) were equal in performance and better than the other fertilizers in terms of herbage growth (sward height and sward regrowth). Anthropogenic liquid waste (1:3) produced the significantly highest fresh and dry herbage yields among the fertilizers. Furthermore anthropogenic liquid waste (1:3) favoured the highest proliferation of microbes. The favourable response of the grasses and the higher microbial population in the soils treated with Anthropogenic liquid waste implies that this fertilizer contains high quantities of readily available plant nutrients.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   Background of the Study

Fertilizer application plays a crucial role in modern agricultural practices to meet the increasing global demand for food, feed, and forage production. While fertilizers are known to enhance plant nutrient availability and productivity, their effects extend beyond the plant-soil system to the intricate microbial communities present in the soil. Soil microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms, are essential for nutrient cycling, organic matter decomposition, and overall soil health. Understanding the effects of fertilizers on soil microbial diversity, as well as their subsequent impacts on the growth and yield of forage grasses, is of paramount importance for sustainable agricultural practices. 

Forage grasses, such as Panicum maximum (Guinea grass) and Sorghum almum (Sudan grass), are widely cultivated as important sources of livestock feed and fodder. These grasses exhibit diverse ecological adaptations and play a vital role in improving soil structure, erosion control, and livestock nutrition. However, the successful cultivation of forage grasses heavily relies on proper nutrient management, including the judicious use of fertilizers.

The application of fertilizers can significantly alter the soil microbial community structure and function. Fertilizer inputs provide an additional source of nutrients, potentially influencing the abundance and composition of microbial taxa. Previous studies have shown that certain microbial groups, such as nitrogen-fixing bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi, can be stimulated or inhibited by specific fertilizer types, leading to changes in nutrient availability and plant-microbe interactions.

Soil microbial diversity, a key component of soil biodiversity, is an important indicator of soil health and ecosystem functioning. Microbial communities contribute to various soil processes, including nutrient cycling, disease suppression, and organic matter decomposition. Alterations in microbial diversity can have profound effects on ecosystem stability and productivity. Therefore, understanding the impacts of fertilizer application on soil microbial diversity is crucial for sustainable agriculture.

Furthermore, the effects of fertilizers on the growth and yield of forage grasses have been extensively studied, but there is limited knowledge regarding the specific responses of different forage grass species to various fertilizer types. Panicum maximum and Sorghum almum are two commonly cultivated forage grasses with distinct growth habits and nutrient requirements. Investigating their responses to different fertilizer treatments can provide valuable insights into the optimization of fertilizer management practices for improved forage production.

This study aims to investigate the effects of fertilizers on soil microbial diversity, as well as the growth and yield of Panicum maximum and Sorghum almum. The research findings will contribute to our understanding of the intricate interactions between fertilizers, soil microbial communities, and forage grasses, ultimately guiding the development of sustainable fertilizer management strategies for enhanced forage production.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The application of fertilizers in agricultural systems has been widely adopted to increase crop productivity and meet the growing demand for food, feed, and forage production. However, the effects of fertilizers on soil microbial diversity, as well as their subsequent impacts on

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