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Effect of phosphorus application in legume cover crop rotation on subsequent maize in the savanna zone of West Africa
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The benefit of planted fallow with legume cover crops may be limited on P deficient soil. A trial was conducted at two P deficient sites in northern Nigeria to test the hypothesis that application of P to legume cover crop fallow can substitute for N application to subsequent maize. Mainplots consisted of leguminous fallows followed by unfertilized maize, or native (mostly grass) fallows followed by maize with 0 or 40 kg N ha−1 (Kaduna) and 0, 30 or 60 kg N ha−1 (Bauchi). Three rates of P (0, 9, and 18 kg ha−1) were applied to fallow sub-plots as single superphosphate. In the first year, dry matter accumulation of lablab (Lablab purpureus) responded to P application, while mucuna (Mucuna cochinchinensis) dry matter did not. Lablab mulch dry matter during the dry season was significantly increased by previous season P application while mucuna was not. Previous fallow vegetation was a significant factor for maize growth in the second year but the interaction with P applied to the fallow was not significant at P < 0.05. Substantial and similar yield increases were achieved with application of N fertilizer to maize and from application of 9 kg P ha−1 to previous lablab. Depending on local economic circumstances, a good use of expensive inorganic fertilizer might be to apply P sources to cover crop legumes to profit from additional N benefits as well as residual effects of applied P.
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Permanent link to this itemhttps://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12478/4358
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