Vermicompost and Fertilizer Application: Effect on Productivity and Profitability of Baby Corn (Zea Mays L.) and Soil Health
ABSTRACT - Journal of Composting Science and Utilization, 2017
Earthworm digested wastes (vermicompost) are being produced in increasing quantities to make farming sustainable. A study was carried out for two consecutive years (2007–09) at the Agricultural Experimental Farm of Indian Statistical Institute, Giridih, India on sandy loam soil in factorial randomized block design with three replications. Baby corn (cv. Early Composite) was grown without vermicompost (V0) or with vermicompost (V1: @ 10 Mg ha−1) in combination with three recommended doses of fertilizers [F1: 50%, F2: 100% (N:P2O5:K2O = 150:60:60 kg ha−1) and F3: 150% RDF] besides an absolute control (F0: no-NPK) to assess their effect on baby corn productivity and soil health. Vermicompost applied plots recorded considerably higher cob (0.717 Mg ha−1) and green fodder (17.58 Mg ha−1) yield. Among the fertilizers, baby corn grown with F3 yielded maximum cob (0.759 Mg ha−1) and green fodder (18.46 Mg ha−1). Vermicompost application built-up soil nutrient like nitrogen (145 kg ha−1), phosphorus (16 kg ha−1), potassium (190 kg ha−1), organic carbon (0.78%), and enhanced cation exchange capacity (12.19 Cmol+kg−1), microbial [basal soil respiration, microbial biomass carbon, microbial quotient, and metabolic quotient] and enzyme activities (urease and acid phosphatase). However, microbial and enzyme activities were minimum with F3. Vermicompost and F2 treatments were most remunerative. Use of vermicompost not only reduces the requirement of chemical fertilizers but also supplements important all essential nutrients to increase crop yield besides improving the soil properties and processes.