Journal article Open Access
Onwudike, Stanley; Mbonu, Vincent
The stability of soil aggregates against the impact of rainfall has become vital especially in South-eastern Nigeria whose soils are too fragile due to high rainfall distribution in the zone that facilities soil erosion. In trying to finding out ways of improving the aggregate stability of soils, two agricultural wastes (poultry droppings (PD) and saw dust ash (SDA) were applied individually and in combination of both at varying rates to evaluate its effects on soil aggregate stability, soil physicochemical properties and yield of maize. A randomized complete block design was used and the treatments were replicated three times. Pre and post planting soil samples were collected and analysed for physical and chemical soil properties using standard methods. Data collected from soil analyses and growth performances of maize were subjected to analysis of variance and significant treatment means were separated using least significant difference at 0.05 probability level. Results showed that plots amended with 10 t/ha PD + 10 t/ha SDA increased soil organic carbon by 25.4 %, soil total nitrogen by 25.7 %, effective cation exchange capacity by 34.3 % and base saturation by 19.2 %. Plots amended with 10 t/ha PD + 10 t/ha SDA reduced clay ratio (CR), clay dispersion index (CDI) and dispersion ratio (DR) by 75.2 %, 84.9 % and 93.7 % respectively while clay flocculation index (CFI) was increased by 82.3 %. The highest maize yield (74 kg/ha) was recorded from plots amended with 10 t/ha PD + 10 t/ha SDA. Therefore 10 t/ha PD + 10 t/ha SDA was recommended for improvement of soil properties, soil aggregate stability and yield of maize in acid soil.