Effect of time of fertilizer application on growth and yield of maize (Zea mays L.) in Jos - plateau environment
An experiment was carried out during the 2006 growing season, between June and November, to investigate the growth and yield responses of four varieties of maize (SUWAN-1-Y, TZSR-Y, DMESR-W and ACROSS-97 TZL) to time of fertilizer application (2,4 and 6 weeks after planting). The experiment was laid out in a 3 x 4 factorial in a randomized complete block design with four replications. The results indicated that the mean number of leaves per plant, leaf area index (LAI), plant height, mean number of rows per ear, ear weight, shelling %, kernel weight and total grain yield significantly (P<0.05) increased when fertilizer was applied at two weeks after planting. The mean number of days to 50% tasseling and 50% silking decreased when fertilizer was applied at six weeks after planting. The mean number of barren plants increased with delay in fertilizer application at six weeks after planting. The interactions of variety and time of fertilizer application on the number of rows per ear, mean ear weight, kernel weight and shelling % were significant. The study revealed that the yield of maize could be enhanced by the early application of fertilizer at two weeks after planting. These results are discussed in the light of time of fertilizer application on growth and yield attributes of maize.
KEYWORDS: Fertilizer, Growth, Yield, Zea mays L.