Managing tillage and FYM for enhancing maize production and soil properties in mid-hills of Nepal
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A field experiment was conducted at farmers’ field in Chitwan, Nepal during May-July 2012 to evaluate the effect of tillage and different doses of FYM on yield of maize crop and soil properties. The experiment was laid out in two factorial randomized complete block design with 3 different tillage (dibbling, stripe tillage and conventional tillage) and 4 different doses of FYM (2 Mg ha-1, 5 Mg ha-1, 10 Mg ha-1 and 20 Mg ha-1) allocated in three replications. The results revealed that dibbling is favorable for soil moisture and residual soil N conservation. Higher FYM level supported to increase residual nutrients (OM and NPK) holding. Tillage did not affect grain and straw yield significantly. But the higher level of FYM yielded the higher grain yield. Benefit-Cost ratio of maize cultivation was found to be higher in reduced tillage methods with FYM 5 Mg ha-1 compared to the control (chemical source NPK @ 120:60:40) and FYM 15 Mg ha-1. Dibbling found to be more beneficial for crop yield, nutrient uptake and soil physical properties. Application of FYM 5-10 Mg ha-1 was found to be most cost effective regarding the economical benefit. Hence reduced tillage with FYM 5-10 Mg ha-1 contribute to minimize the soil degradation in mid-hills of Nepal with higher soil nutrients conservation and economic return from maize farming compared to existing conventional system of maize farming.