Irrigation and Nutrient Management for Crop Production: Maize (Zea mais) Performance, Resource Use Efficiency and Temporal Variability of Some Soil Properties

Gabriel Oladele Awe, Abayomi Sunday Fasina, Olubunmi Samuel Shittu, Solomon Olusegun Omotoso


Information on soil health and nutrient management is crucial for recommending appropriate management practices for effective crop production and optimum yield. This study evaluated the effect of drip irrigation and fertilizer application on soil hydro-physical properties, performance and resource use of maize (Zea mais) in southwestern Nigeria. The experiment was a two factorial laid out in randomized complete block design (RCBD) and three replications. Irrigation treatment constituted the main factor namely: 100% (full irrigation), 75%, 50% and 35% of crop water requirement designated as 1.0IE; 0.75IE; 0.5IE and 0.35IE, respectively while the sub-plot was N-fertilization as N0 - no fertilizer application and N100 –100 kg Urea ha-1. The highest evaporation from the soil surface was obtained from the treatment that received full irrigation. At harvest, irrigation regimes and fertilizer rates significantly increased bulk density (BD) and soil water content (SWC) while saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) decreased. The highest grain yield (3.5 tons ha-1) was obtained under full application of crop water requirement, about 28% greater than the yield obtained from water deficit (0.35IE) treatment. Nitrogen application of N100 gave higher grain yield compared to no fertilizer application. The interaction between drip irrigation and N-fertilization was significant on growth parameters, yield and water use efficiency (WUE) of maize. The study showed that soil hydro-physical properties were significantly influenced by drip irrigation while the combination of full irrigation water application (1.0IE) and adequate N-fertilization (100 kg N ha-1) is the best option for optimum maize performance and resource use efficiency.

Keywords: Crop evapotranspiration, irrigation scheduling, soil hydro-physical properties, crop performance, resource use efficiency.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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