Information from ECHO Network member Daryl Edwards from his work in Zimbabwe suggested that using quality compost containing 10% cow manure results in a maize harvest similar to that obtained with 100% cow manure. This could be significant to farmers who have small farm sizes and limited livestock and manure resources. The proposition was tested in the field on ECHO’s demonstration farm in North Fort Myers, Florida. Four compost mixes (10%, 25%, and 100% cow manure, as well as 25% Mucuna pruriens; remaining portions of each compost mix were made up of equal parts of woody and leafy green plant material) were applied as pre-plant fertilizers to maize planting stations established according to a conservation farming system called Foundations For Farming (FFF). The compost was made in September (2010), and the trial was carried out between May and September of 2011. Data were collected on seed germination, tasseling, number of ears per plant and yield (dried on-cob and shelled weights of the harvested corn). Maize grain yield ranged from 4.4 to 5.4 t/ha. During the same season, a non-fertilized maize plot on another section of the ECHO Global Farm yielded 2.2 t/ha. Compost treatment had no effect on yield or any other crop growth parameter measured. Results indicate that, with compost comprised of as little as 10% cow manure or 25% Mucuna pruriens, farmers can obtain similar maize yields as 100% composted cow manure.


Collections