Effect of Oil Palm Bunch Refuse Ash Rates as Soil Amendment for Increased Maize Production in Nigeria

Jaja, E. T., Nwauzoma, A. B.


Maize (Zea mays L.) one of the oldest and widely cultivated world cereal is an annual of the order Poacea and it is an important member of the Graminaea family. It provides food for man, feed for livestock and raw materials for industries. In many parts of West Africa, this is a staple food and is occasionally cultivated on garden scale where it cannot be grown as a farm crop. It is an important source of carbohydrate and vitamins.

Oil palm bunch refuse ash is a plant derived ash that serves as an effective liming material and also a source whereby major soil and plant nutrients are enhanced (Owolabi et al., 2003).

In Port Harcourt South eastern Nigeria most soils are acidic due to the nature of their parent material, land use and climate. These inherently infertile soils are called ultisols, formed from coasted plain sands and are low in mineral reserve and fertility (Eshett, 1993). The soils are deficient in essential plant nutrient in a few years of cropping, hence, the need for a suitable liming programme. Due to scarcity and high cost of liming materials, research into low cost, internally sourced, cheap and affordable organic material that could serve as liming agent was carried out. Earlier Omoti et al., (1989), had indicated that there was great potential of reducing fertilizer bill in oil palm plantation by recycling empty oil palm bunch waste.

However, very little has been reported on crop response to unorthodox liming materials Obi and Ekerigin (2001). However, Adetunji (1997), studied effect plant derived ash on maize yield. According to Ojeniyi and Adejobi (2002), the use of wood ash can ameliorate soil acidity. Other studies carried out in parts of Africa found that plant derived ash increase P, K, Ca, Mg status of soil and pH and yield of vegetable, rice, millet and maize (Adu-Dapaah et al., 1994).

However, the potential of oil palm bunch refuse ash as a liming material has not been adequately investigated in the field. Hence, this work is geared towards putting together the gain derived from the use of oil palm bunch refuse ash for the production of organic manures and agricultural development with respect to Maize (Zea mays L.).

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3186 ISSN (Online)2225-0921

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