IJARP SJIF(2018): 4.908

International Journal of Advanced Research and Publications!

Effect Of Fertilization And Spacing On Growth And Grain Yields Of Finger Millet (Eleusine Coracana L.) In Ainamoi, Kericho County, Kenya

Volume 2 - Issue 10, October 2018 Edition
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Author(s)
Andrew Korir, Peter Kamau, David Mushimiyimana
Keywords
Fertilization, Finger millet, Crop Spacing, Grain Yields
Abstract
Finger Millet is an annual cereal crop widely grown for their seed in various ecological zones in Kenya and was once a staple grain diet of Southern Africa. It is a highly nutritious cereal crop utilized as a good food for infant feeding, special dishes for sick people and for special beverages among some people for example “eraki” beer in Ethiopia. Farmers have a wrong notion that finger millet being a traditional crop does not need any nutrient and usually is grown on marginal lands without applying any fertilizer. This could be an important reason for low productivity in the country. Fertilizer application or nutrient improvement is known to increase yields, yield components of the crop and lead to an improvement in the quality of the produce. A field experiment was conducted in Ainamoi Location in Kericho County to evaluate the effect of spacing and fertilizer levels on growth and yields of Finger Millet (Eleusine coracana) variety P224. Three plant spacing of (i) 40x10 cm, (ii) 30x10 cm and (iii) 20x10 cm was applied with DAP fertilizer rates of 150 kg/ha, 125 kg/ha, 75 kg/ha and 0 kg/ha as basal fertilizer dose at sowing. The experiment was laid out in randomized complete block design with three replications. The results showed that spacing levels that were tested did not have a significant effect on plant height and leaf length but, significantly influenced the number of tillers with the closer spacing of 20 cm x10 cm showing a significantly lower tillering compared to the wider spacing of 30 cm x10 cm and 40 cm x10 cm. This led to a significantly higher grain yield for the closer spacing compared to the wider spacing of 30x10cm and 40x10cm. It is concluded that, though a wider spacing encouraged growth through stem and leaf elongation and tiller formation, this did not adequately compensate for the higher number of heads associated with the closer spacing and thus a closer spacing of 20x10 cm outperformed the wider spacing of 30x10cm and 40x10 cm and gave a significantly higher grain yield. The application of DAP fertilizer (18:46:0) had a significant influence on crop growth as measured by its plant height and leaf length. The higher rates of 125 and 150 kg DAP/ha showed superior growth in height and leaf length compared to no fertilizer and the lower dose of 75 kg DAP/ha. Fertilization had a significant effect on tiller formation; no-fertilizer treatment had a significantly lower number of tillers/plant. The higher dose of fertilizer gave the highest biomass and the highest grain yield. It is concluded that finger millet variety P224 was responsive to DAP application in both growth and yield variables and the higher dose of 150 kg/ha led to higher growth rate and higher performance in grain yield. The interaction between spacing and fertilizer application was ineffective on growth and yield variables for the finger millet variety P224. It is recommended that farmers adopt the closer spacing of 20x10 cm for Finger millet variety P224 in the study area for higher crop yield and farmers to apply a minimum of 125 kg DAP/ha. However, specific soil tests are recommended to establish the appropriate levels at which to apply the N and P fertilizers. Further research is recommended to establish the correct plant population for optimum production as the current three levels was inadequate for a conclusive determination of the exact plant population desirable for the variety P224.
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