Integrated Plant Nutrient Management for Sandy Soil Using Chemical Fertilizers, Compost, Biochar and Biofertilizers
Sandy soils are low in nutrient content and water holding capacity leading to frequent application of both nutrients and water to meet crop requirements. One of the best ways to improve soil properties and prevent nutrient losses is to improve soil quality through the use of organic amendments and minimizing the use of fertilizers. In order to achieve this we conducted a green house experiment using ten treatments with three replicates setting up a randomized block design to investigate integrated effects of chemical fertilizer, compost, bio-fertilizer and biochar on maize crop productivity and improvement in nutrient availability. The study revealed that application of compost and biochar did not impair plant growth and showed no signs of stress or nutrient deficiency. The results showed 19 % increase in plant height and 29% increase in the fresh biomass when biochar was used with the chemical fertilizer (T8) compared to where only chemical fertilizer was applied (T3). It was also found that when half of the chemical fertilizer than was applied in combination with bio-fertilizer and biochar (T10), a similar increase (19.6 %) in plant height and fresh biomass was found compared to when chemical fertilizer was added alone (T3). Cation exchange capacity and organic carbon content increased by 48-52 % and 9-15% in T8 and T10 compared to T3 in the postharvest soil respectively.