Effect of soil compaction and organic matter on the early growth of maize (Zea mays) in a vertisol
E. Mamman 1
,  
J.O. Ohu 1
,  
 
 
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Department of Agricultural and Environmental Resources Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, P.M.B. 1069, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria
 
Int. Agrophys. 2007, 21(4): 367–375
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ABSTRACT
A laboratory experiment was conducted to determine the emergence and early growth of maize (Zea mays) seeds in a dark clay soil known as vertisol (Typic Pellustert). Three quantities of groundnut haulms were incorporated into the vertisol as organic matter and then compacted at three moisture content levels using four different compactive efforts. The three organic matter and moisture content levels were 2, 4 and 6% (db), and 20, 35 and 50% (w/w), respectively. The four compactive efforts were 0, 5, 10 and 15 proctor hammer blows. Soil properties determined were soil bulk density and penetration resistance while crop parameters were emergence count, plant height, shoot moisture content, dry weight of shoots and roots and root length. For all soil moisture content and hammer blows, soil bulk density and penetration resistance decreased with increase in organic matter level. Maximum values of soil bulk density and penetration resistance were recorded at 10 hammer blows, 2% organic matter and 35% soil moisture content levels, respectively. The plant parameters gave their highest values at 5 hammer blows, 4% organic matter and 35% soil moisture content levels, respectively. The results obtained in this study showed that there is a great potential in managing the soil by the addition of organic matter as a means of alleviating the problems of soil compaction for the development and growth of crops such as maize. The influence will however depend on the soil type, amount of organic matter added, soil moisture content at the time of load application and the amount of load applied.
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