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Authors: Javeed, Hafiz Muhammad Rashad
Keywords: Applied Sciences
Agriculture & related technologies
Techniques, equipment & materials
Plant injuries, diseases & pests
Insect culture
Issue Date: 2013
Abstract: Economics of growing crops and soil fertility of the farmer’s field is very critical for agricultural scientists before introducing new field techniques for precision agriculture. Several soil physical, chemical and biological properties are affected by the different tillage practices which may affect the crop growth and development. Addition of organic matter can increase the soil fertility and productivity which may improve the crop yield and quality. During spring 2010 and 2011, two field experiments were conducted at the Agronomic Research Area, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan to observe the effects of integrated management strategies on the performance of spring maize. In the first experiment influence of different tillage practices and poultry manure was studied on the growth and yield of maize and soil physical properties. In second experiment Influence of tillage practices and mulches on the growth, yield and soil physical properties was studied. Both experiments were laid out in randomized complete block design (RCBD) with split plot arrangement. The dimension of each plot was 10 × 4.5 m with 6 rows having three replications in each experiment. Four different tillage practices as zero tillage, minimum tillage, conventional tillage and deep tillage and three different levels of poultry manures; control (no poultry manure), poultry manure at 5 Mg ha -1 and poultry manure at 10 Mg ha -1 were applied as treatments in first experiment. In the second experiment, tillage treatments were the same as in first experiment but the four different mulches i.e. control (no mulch), black plastic mulch, wheat straw mulch and grass mulch were applied between the rows of maize crop. All the tillage treatments in both the experiments were kept in the main plots while the poultry manure (first experiment) and mulches (second experiment) were kept in subplots. First experiment results suggested that the all the tillage operations and poultry manure treatments significantly increased the soil total porosity, lower the soil bulk density and root penetration which were conducive for plant growth and yield. Lesser time to start emergence, mean emergence time, higher leaf area index, leaf area duration, crop growth rate and net assimilation rate was observed in the tilled sown maize rather than zero tillage. Deep tillage gave the 4-21 % more grain yield than conventional, minimum and zero tillage during both year studies. Application of poultry manure @ 10 Mg ha -1 produced 7 % and 18 % more maize grain yield than poultry manure @ 5 Mg ha -1 and control, respectively. Better quality maize protein was harvested at higher doses of poultry manure and in deep tillage. Higher BCR and net income was obtained in minimum tillage with poultry manure @10 Mg ha -1 (2.65, 2.91) than control (1.39, 1.69) in both years of study. Maximum crop productivity was achieved in minimum tillage with poultry manure @10 Mg ha -1 (0.1081 and 0.1139 kg Rs. -1 ) as compared to other tillage practices and poultry manure treatments. As far as the results of second experiments were concerned; improved maize seed emergence, better leaf area index, leaf area duration, crop growth rate and net assimilation rate was recorded in deep tillage practice and black plastic mulch treatment. Yield and yield related attributes i.e. plant population, number of grain rows per cob, number of grains per cob, 1000-grain weight and grain yield was improved in tilled soil maize crop xxiiithan the no tillage. Deep tillage crop gave the 3-25 % more grain yield than conventional, minimum and zero tillage crop while the black plastic mulch treatment produced 7-30 % more grain yield than the wheat straw mulch, grass mulch and control treatments in both years of research. Mulches improved the water use efficiency of crop during 2010 as well as 2010 compared to unmulched plot. Although the grain yield and other yield related traits were higher in deep tillage treatment but it did not improve the soil organic matter and soil health. Economically, deep tillage sown crop was much expensive than the conventional, minimum and zero tillage crop. More net return and benefit to cost ratio was calculated in minimum tillage over all other tillage practices. Maximum crop productivity was achieved in minimum tillage with black plastic mulch treatment (0.0663 and 0.0699 kg Rs. -1 ) as compared to conventional, minimum, zero tillage and different mulch treatments.
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