Effect of Cover Crops, Lime and Rock Phosphate on Maize (Zea mays L.) in an Acidic Soil of Northern Guinea Savanna of Nigeria

J. M. Jibrin, V. O. Chude, W. J. Horst, I. Y. Amapu


Phosphorus deficiency is the major constraint to maize production in acidic soil of Heipang (9°38’, 8°53’) in Northern Guinea Savanna of Nigeria. The soil is high in sesquioxides and soluble aluminum and has high phosphate sorption capacity. To address this problem, a field trial was conducted between 1996-1997 to assess the responses of six tropical cover crops and maize to lime and applied rock phosphate and to evaluate the effect of these treatments on the performance and P nutrition of succeeding maize. Results of the trial showed that planting Chamaecrista rotundifolia, Lablab purpureus, Mucuna pruriens, and maize-Chamaecrista rotundifolia intercrop reduced the leaf Al concentration of succeeding maize by more than 38%. Although none of the six cover crops significantly increased grain yields of succeeding maize, C. rotundifolia was the most consistent in improving maize performance while Glycine max produced the least performance. Concentration of Mn in the index leaves of maize was significantly higher on plots where G. max preceded maize, thus accounting for the poor performance of maize on these plots. Application of Sokoto Phosphate Rock at 30 kg ha^(-1) to cover crops produced very significant improvement in the yields of succeeding maize. While liming with 1.35 t CaO ha^(-1) in 1997 raised the soil pH value by 0.2 and significantly improved total P uptake by maize.


P deficiency; rock phosphate; liming; cover crops; maize yield

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