Tithonia and senna green manures and inorganic fertilizers as phosphorus sources for maize in Western Kenya
Source: Agroforestry Systems, Volume 44, Number 1, 1 January 1998 , pp. 21-35(15)
Abstract:Efforts to overcome declining soil fertility on small holder farms in western Kenya must be consistent with the reality of low utilization of inorganic fertilizers. Likewise organic inputs alone cannot supply adequate nutrients. The use of two organic resources, Tithonia diversifolia (tithonia) and Senna spectabilis (senna) leaves, and their combination with inorganic P for improving soil fertility and maize yields was investigated on a P limiting soil in Western Kenya. Treatments included: 1) control, no inputs; 2) 5 t ha^−1 (dry matter) tithonia leaves; 3) 5 t ha^−1 senna leaves; 4) 5 t ha^−1 tithonia leaves + 25 kg P ha^−1 as triple superphosphate (TSP); 5) 5 t ha^−1 senna leaves + 25 kg P ha^−1 (as TSP); and 6) 25 kg P ha^−1 of TSP. Maize was used as a test crop. Decomposition and P and N release of tithonia and senna leaves were determined in a litterbag study. Tithonia + TSP applications tripled maize yields compared to the control, senna + TSP and tithonia sole application doubled yields, while senna sole applications did not increase yields substantially. A large residual yield was produced in the tithonia treatments in a subsequent crop. These yield results were consistent with the higher quality and faster release of N and P from the tithonia leaves compared to senna. The tithonia biomass transfer system can improve yields in the short term but has limitations because of the large amount of biomass and the associated labor requirements.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: 1: Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Programme (TSBF), P.O. Box 30592, Nairobi, Kenya; Moi University, P.O Box 1125, Eldoret, Kenya 2: Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Programme (TSBF), P.O. Box 30592, Nairobi, Kenya (Author for Correspondence: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) 3: International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), P.O. Box 30677, Nairobi, Kenya 4: Moi University, P.O. Box 1125, Eldoret, Kenya
Publication date: January 1, 1998