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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Effect of grass-diet and grass-legume-diet manure applied to planting holes on smallholder maize production in Rwanda

Dahlin, A. Sigrun; Mukangango, Marguerite; Naramabuye, Francois Xavier; Nduwamungu, Jean; Nyberg, Gert


Animal manure provides plant nutrients and also affects soil nutrient availability, pH buffering and soil physical properties through its contribution to soil organic matter pools. However, the quality and quantity of manure are often low on smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa and the initial effect of manuring on crop yield may be small or even negative. In a two-factorial experiment over four seasons in southern Rwanda, the fertiliser value to a maize crop of manures produced by cattle fed a basal diet of only Chloris gayana grass or a mixed C. gayanaAcacia angustissima diet was compared with that of NPK 17-17-17 and no fertiliser. The potential liming effect of the manures was also evaluated through inclusion (or not) of travertine as the second factor. All amendments were applied only to maize planting holes. The crop failed in season 1 due to drought, but manure application (5 t ha-1) approximately doubled maize yield compared with the unfertilised control during seasons 2-4, while NPK (70 kg N ha-1) increased yield by 3- to 4-fold, with corresponding improvements in crop performance indicators. The mixed diet increased manure quality and maize yield compared with the grass diet in season 4. Liming showed a consistent tendency to improve crop performance indicators and yield, but significant differences were only identified in some cases, possibly because the pH increase was small. The results suggest that in regions where manure availability is limiting, application of reduced rates only to planting holes may be an efficient technology. Enhanced animal feed can result in higher quality manure, and ultimately increase crop yield, if nutrient losses during manure handling and storage can be limited.


Manure; Maize production; Liming effect; Legume supplementation; Planting hole application

Published in

Field Crops Research
2021, Volume: 263, article number: 108057
Publisher: ELSEVIER