, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 111-123
Date: 30 Aug 2008

Effect of organic and inorganic phosphate fertilizers and their combination on maize yield and phosphorus availability in a Yellow Earth in Myanmar

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Phosphorus (P) deficiency is a major constraint for crop production in many parts of the world including Myanmar and field research into management of P fertilizers and P responsiveness of crops on infertile soils has been limited. The purpose of this study is to determine maize yield response to different forms of P fertilizers on an acidic (pH 4.9) P deficient (Olsen-P 8 mg kg−1) Yellow Earth (Acrisol) in Southern Shan State, Myanmar and to establish relationships between soil Olsen-P test values (0.5 M sodium bicarbonate extracted P) and maize yield. Field experiments were conducted during two cropping seasons. There were 15 treatments in total: P was applied at seven rates of a soluble P fertilizer as Triple superphosphate (TSP) (0–120 kg P ha−1) to establish a P response curve; one rate of a partially soluble P fertilizer (Chinese partially acidulated phosphate rock, CPAPR) and two organic P fertilizers (farmyard manure (FYM) and Tithonia diversifolia) at 20 kg P ha−1; combination of TSP and CPAPR at 20 kg P ha−1 with FYM and Tithonia at 20 kg P ha−1; an additional treatment (TSP 20 kg P ha−1 plus 2.5 t ha−1 dolomite) for assessing the liming effect of a local dolomite. In Year 1, applications of TSP at 40–60 kg P ha−1 produced near maximum grain yields, whereas in Year 2 this could be achieved with a reapplication of 20–30 kg P ha−1 on top of the residual value of the Year 1 application. In both years, CPAPR, TSP and Tithonia at 20 kg P ha−1 significantly increased maize grain yield, but FYM failed to increase grain yield. In Year 1, CPAPR and TSP effects on grain yield were higher than that of Tithonia but in Year 2 the effects were same for all these three treatments. In both years the combination of FYM (20 kg P ha−1) with TSP (20 kg P ha−1) produced significantly higher grain yield than TSP at 20 kg P ha−1 whereas 40 kg P ha−1 of TSP application did not significantly increase grain yield over the TSP application at 20 kg P ha−1. Similar results were obtained when half the P applied as CPAPR was substituted with P from Tithonia and FMP during the first year. The combined data from the two years experiment suggests that 90% of maximum maize grain yields can be obtained by raising the Olsen-P to 30–35 mg P ha−1 soil at the silking stage of growth. Olsen-P for the treatments at silking in Year 1 was: Control < FYM, Tithonia < TSP, CPAPR and in Year 2 was: Control < FYM < Tithonia < TSP, CPAPR. The results showed that for a long-term approach, repeated annual applications of Tithonia can be considered as a potential P source for improving soil P status in P deficient Yellow Earths.