Effect of foliar application of watersoluble fertilizers on growth and yield of maize
Maize (Zea mays L.) has high yield potential. Its productivity depends mainly upon nutrient management. Appropriate timing with effective fertilizer application methods improves maize response to fertilizer through nutrients supplement and reduction of nutrient loss. Therefore, the effect of foliar application of water soluble fertilizers (WSF) on growth and yield of maize was conducted in University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK, Bengaluru in Kharif in 2015.Two levels (75% and 100%) of recommended dose of fertilizer (RDF) 150: 75: 40 kg NPK ha-1 were applied to soil in combination with foliar spray of water soluble NPK (19:19:19) at 0.5% concentration sprayed at critical growth stages. Soil application alone orT7: (RDF) 150: 75: 40 kg NPK ha-1 was the control. The results showed significant increase of kernel yield (22.8%) with 100% RDF soil application, followed by 0.5% foliar spray of water soluble fertilizer at critical growth stages over the control. The increase of maize yield was expressed by better biological yield and economic yield components viz, total dry matter accumulation (468 g), cob weight (211.90 g), cob length (18.53 cm), number of kernel rows per cob (17.27), number of kernels per row (35.13) and kernel weight per plant (171.23 g per plant). Soil application of RDF followed by water soluble fertilizer spray at 0.5% (19: 19: 19 NPK) at 6 leaf growth stage knee height and tasseling stage recorded significantly higher kernel yield over other treatments. Significantly higher kernel yield of (9361 kg ha-1) was recorded from plots treated with 100% RDF through soil application followed by foliar spray of water-soluble fertilizers (WSF) at 6 leaf growth stage and tasseling stage compare to the control plots treated with T7: (RDF) 150: 75: 40 kg NPK ha-1; where yield of 7223 kg ha-1 was obtained. This results in yield increase of 22.8% over the control. Higher net returns in rupees (Rs. 72500 ha-1) and B: C (cost benefit ratio)of 2.8 were also recorded with 100 % RDF followed by 0.5 % foliar spray of water soluble fertilizers at 6 leaf growth stage and tasseling stage whereas the lower net returns (Rs.49844 ha-1) with B: C of 2.3 compare to other treatments which could be adopted in maize cultivation for higher kernel yield and economic returns.
Keywords: Maize, foliar application, NPK levels, yield