Increased production of maize, a major staple in Nigeria, has adversely affected soil quality, especially in the mono-cropped savannah ecology of Northern Guinea. In the Northern Guinea savannah of Nigeria, continuous intensive cropping has adversely affected soil quality and crop yield, thus threatening the sustainability of intensified maize-based systems. In a long-term maize trial set up in 1997, a field study was carried out in Zaria to assess the impact of changes in soil fertility on plant parasitic nematodes and maize yield. In a randomised complete block configuration, the experiment was laid out. The treatments were made of urea fertiliser, animal manure, Centrosema pascuorum, Vigna unguiculata and were applied as single or mixed fertiliser treatments to make 45 and 90 kg N ha-1. The results obtained showed that the incidence of plant parasitic nematode infection was significantly reduced by mixed application of urea fertiliser and animal manure to 90 kg N ha-1 in soil by between 3.4 and 80 percent compared to single application of urea. With the application of 45 kg N urea + 45 kg N animal manure (7.5 tonnes ha-1 cow dung or 1.5 tonnes ha-1 poultry litter), the yield of maize was not substantially different from the yields obtained with the application of 90 kg N single urea fertiliser, suggesting that manure increased the consistency of the soil, decreased the use of urea fertiliser and produced statistically comparable yields with 90 kg N sole urea fertiliser. The key component research showed that the plant genera of parasitic nematodes Pratylenchus and Aphelenchoides sp. Grain yield was negatively affected, but its dominance in the soil was established as one of the variables that reduced yield. The study showed that the parasitic nematodes of Pratylenchus and Aphelenchoides contributed significantly to the decline in grain yield, and this was indicated in the main component review. Higher numbers of Aphelenchoides illustrate the fact that Aphelenchoides is a legume-parasitic nematode in legume-amended treatments. The adoption of “balanced” fertilisation that combines urea fertiliser with animal manure to restore or sustain optimal crop yield for long-term soil productivity is recommended to optimise maize productivity in the Northern Guinea savanna of Nigeria.

Author (s) Details

Eche N. Mary
Department of Soil Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.

Iwuafor E. N. Oyema
Department of Soil Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.

Amapu I. Yo’ila
Department of Soil Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.

Bruns M. Victoria
Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Penn State University, United States.

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