Decomposition, Mineralization And Nitrogen Loss Following Application Of Different Rates Of Mucuna Green Biomass Under Field Conditions In Kenya

Citation:
Maobe, S.N.; Mburu ANMMOMWK; L. Decomposition, Mineralization And Nitrogen Loss Following Application Of Different Rates Of Mucuna Green Biomass Under Field Conditions In Kenya.; 2010.

Abstract:

Knowledge on the relationship amongst mucuna green biomass application rate, decomposition pattern, mineralization and its distribution in rooting zone of maize is essential for efficient utilization of the legume as N source for maize production. Consequently, on-farm research was carried out for two seasons on sandy clay soil of southwest Kenya in 2004. The objective was to determine effect of different application rates of mucuna green biomass on its decomposition pattern, available soil N, distribution in rooting zone of maize, and leaching beyond the zone during the season when the biomass is incorporated into the soil. The treatments were mucuna applied at rates of 0, 30, 60, 120, 240 and 480 kg N ha-1; and inorganic fertilizer-urea at 30, 60 and 120 kg N ha-1 included for comparison. The approaches employed in evaluating the treatments were: Field incubation using micro-lysimeter technique and, direct field sampling method. Randomized complete block design with three replications was used. Results showed that mucuna decomposition pattern remained same irrespective of application rate. Soil available N (SAN) increased over time after application of either source of N. The SAN level reached a significantly higher peak at 2 weeks after application (WAA). Direct field sampling showed that at 2 WAA most of the N accumulated at 50–100 cm depth, regardless of the N source. Significant differences in SAN level attributed to application of the various rates of mucuna and fertilizer were notable at 2 WAA, but had disappeared by 4 WAA. At the 2 WAA, fertilizer and mucuna applied at 60 and 120 kg N ha-1 respectively gave comparable SAN level and had non-significant effect on it at 0-15 and 15–30 cm depths. It required 240 kg N ha-1 equivalent of mucuna green biomass, or 120 kg N ha-1 of inorganic fertilizer-urea to substantially increase SAN level over the control. The loss of N beyond maize rooting zone was significantly higher from inorganic fertilizer than mucuna and the control, which were the same.

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