Volume 2, Issue 5, September 2014, Page: 232-236
Effects of Biochar Derived from Maize Stover and Rice Straw on the Early Growth of their Seedlings
Alie Kamara, Soil Science Department, School of Agriculture, Njala Campus, Njala University, Sierra Leone
Mary Mankutu Mansaray, Extension Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Sierra Leone
Abibatu Kamara, Extension Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Sierra Leone
Patrick Andrew Sawyerr, Soil Science Department, School of Agriculture, Njala Campus, Njala University, Sierra Leone
Received: Jun. 20, 2014;       Accepted: Jul. 8, 2014;       Published: Oct. 20, 2014
DOI: 10.11648/j.ajaf.20140205.14      View  2636      Downloads  204
Abstract
Crop residues such as maize and rice are important sources of nutrients and their restitution to the soil is an important residue management strategy for maintaining or improving soil and crop productivity. However, most maize and rice farmers in Sierra Leone burn crop residues during land preparation thereby depriving the soil of this vital resource. An alternative approach is the recycling of crop residues through biochar production. This study was therefore carried out to assess the effects of (i) maize stover biochar on the early growth of maize and (ii) rice straw biochar on the early growth of rice. In this study, biochar (0g, 12.5g, 25.0g, 37.5g and 50.0g) was mixed with 3kg of soil (fine sandy loam) and placed in perforated black polythene bags. Maize or rice seeds (3 per pot) were planted to 2cm depth and later thinned to one plant per pot. All pots were placed in the open under direct sunlight and rainfall. No supplemental irrigation was done since there was sufficient rainfall to supply the required moisture. The experiment was laid in completely randomized design with five treatments and three replications. After four weeks, the experiment was terminated. Mean plant height, stem girth, fresh- and dry-shoot weights of both maize and rice plants generally increased significantly (p<0.05) relative to the control at biochar applications ≥8.3g/kg soil. The results showed that growing maize and rice on soils treated with biochar derived from their residues (maize stover and rice straw respectively) has the potential to improve crop production. Confirmatory field trials and costs/benefits analysis of converting rice and maize residues to biochar will serve as a good guide for policy makers and end-users (farmers) for increased productivity of maize and rice in Sierra Leone.
Keywords
Biochar, Rice Straw, Maize Stover, Early Growth, Plant Height
To cite this article
Alie Kamara, Mary Mankutu Mansaray, Abibatu Kamara, Patrick Andrew Sawyerr, Effects of Biochar Derived from Maize Stover and Rice Straw on the Early Growth of their Seedlings, American Journal of Agriculture and Forestry. Vol. 2, No. 5, 2014, pp. 232-236. doi: 10.11648/j.ajaf.20140205.14
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