Open Access Short Research Article

Assessment of Handling Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) Grains in Production Areas

Kange Alex Machio

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-7
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2016/24686

A postharvest handling farm survey was conducted on sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) grains as an alternative staple crop adapted in arid and semi-arid lands. The objective of the study was to determine postharvest handling of sorghum grains. Eighty eight farmers were sampled using snowball sampling method in six sorghum growing sub-counties (Siaya, Bondo, Njoro, Rongai, Kibwezi and Kathonzweni). Data collected  was on varieties, drying method, storage form and proportion lost due to mould was analyzed using SPSS version 20 software descriptive statistic cross tabulation. The results showed that farmers preferred local varieties than the improved sorghum varieties. Sorghum grains were either stored in shelled form or on panicles. Mould occurrence in the field and storage in the sub-counties as hazard handling of the grains. This study further established that farmers maintain a diversity of sorghum to reduce on the proportion lost either as storage duration of grains and biotic stress resistance. The results of the study can be used to explain erratic food insecurity in these sub-counties with potential of sorghum production.

Open Access Original Research Article

The Use of Tithonia diversifolia L. as Soil Amendment and Its Effect on the Growth and Yield of Amaranthus cruentus in a Tropical Rain Forest Belt

Opeyemi Samuel Sajo, Moses M. Omole, Omoleye Omobola Oyewole, Adeola Kosemani Sajo

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-11
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2016/25044

The effect of the use of Tithonia diversifolia as soil amendments on the growth and yield of Amarantus cruentus was investigated under field conditions at the Teaching and Research Farm of Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Ikeji-Arakeji, Nigeria. Tithonia diversifolia, Pig slurry and Urea were used for soil treatments. Tithonia diversifolia and Pig slurry were applied at the rate of 4,500 kgh-1 while Urea was applied at the rate of 250 kgh-1. The treatments were replicated three times using Complete Randomized Design (CRD). The soil of the experimental site was analyzed before planting and after harvesting of the vegetable. Agronomic data on plant height, stem girth, number of leaves, leaf area, leaf length and width were collected at 19, 22, 25 and 28 days after planting (DAP). Data collected were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the means were separated using Duncan multiple range test at 5% probability level. The results showed that plant height, stem diameter, leaf width and leaf area index were significantly influenced by the application of both the organic manures and the urea fertilizer. At 19 days after planting (DAP), the plant height recorded were 14.22 cm, 12.87 cm, 12.53 cm and 10.52 cm for Tithonia diversifolia, pig slurry, urea and the control respectively. From the study, it was evident that organic manures compete favorably with the mineral fertilizer. Tithonia diversifolia performed better in most of the growth parameters taken while the performance of urea does not significantly different from that of pig slurry. The post-harvest pH values of the soil ranged from 6.70 to 6.78, indicating that the soil was slightly acidic. A slight increase in phosphorus content of the soil in the plot where Tithonia diversifolia and urea were applied was observed while a decrease trend was noticed in plots where Pig slurry was applied. The result from this study shows that it is expedient to make amendment to soils in the tropical regions using readily available local resources such as Tithonia diversifolia as organic manures to improve its fertility instead of spending huge amount of money on the purchase of synthetic fertilizer.


Open Access Original Research Article

Anti-Alternaria solani Activity of Onion (Allium cepa), Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and Garlic (Allium sativum) In vitro

R. M. Mudyiwa, S. Chiwaramakanda, B. T. Manenji, M. Takawira

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-8
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2016/24488

Plant pathogens cause serious losses in quantity and quality of agricultural products. Use of fungicides is gradually becoming unpopular due to their negative effects on ecosystems, human and animal health, and due to resistance by pathogens to the fungicides. In vitro studies were carried out in order to determine the effects of three plant extracts; onion (Allium cepa), ginger (Zingiber officinale) and garlic (Allium sativum) on the control of Alternaria solani. The experiment was laid in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD) with a 3x3 factorial arrangement plus one control. The first factor was plant extract, with three levels (garlic, onion and ginger) the second was plant extract concentration, with three levels (50%, 75% and 100%). The experiment was carried out in the laboratory at Midlands State University, Zimbabwe, in October 2014. Data on mycelia growth diameter, mycelia inhibition percent and spore germination percent was collected. Results showed that the plant extracts had strong anti-A. solani activity and their effect increased with increase in their concentration. Ginger and garlic had significantly stronger effect on reducing mycelia growth, reducing spore germination and causing high inhibition percentage of A. solani. Ginger was the most effective in controlling A. solani across all concentrations. It can be concluded that the plant extracts (onion, ginger and garlic) can be used as natural fungicides to control pathogenic fungi. It is recommended that further research be done on the plant extracts so as to identify the active compounds which are in the extracts as these are responsible for this fungicidal activity and to carry out more studies to test antifungal activity of these studied plant extracts on other different fungi, at different concentration levels. Further experiments may also be done in the field to determine effects of these plant extracts in controlling diseases caused by A. solani.


Open Access Original Research Article

Morphology, Genesis, Physico-chemical Properties, Classification and Potential of Soils Derived from Volcanic Parent Materials in Selected Districts of Mbeya Region, Tanzania

Balthazar M. Msanya, Juvenal A. Munishi, Nyambilila Amuri, Ernest Semu, Lydia Mhoro, Zacharia Malley

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-19
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2016/24855

This study clarifies the morphology, genesis, physico-chemical properties and classification of soils developed from volcanic parent materials of Mbeya Region, Tanzania. Six typical pedons (MWK 01, IFIG 02, MKY 03, MWZ 04, KYE 01 and NDE 01), were identified, described and 33 soil samples analyzed for physical and chemical characteristics. Results indicate that all pedons were very deep, with textures ranging between fine and coarse. Soil moisture retention ranged between low and medium (78 - 101 mm/m). Some pedons had volcanic ash layers of varying thicknesses and buried 2BC, 2Bwb or 3Bwb horizons, typical of recent volcanic soils. Topsoils had low bulk and particle densities ranging between 0.70 to 1.26 g cm-3 and 1.95 to 2.55 g cm-3, respectively. Organic carbon (OC) content ranged from medium to very high (1.29 to 5.58%). The studied pedons had extremely acidic to very slightly acidic pH ranging from 4.02 to 6.58. Cation exchange capacity (CEC) ranged from medium to very high (16.8 - 41 cmol(+) kg-1 soil for topsoils and 21 - 42.6 cmol(+) kg-1 for subsoils). All studied pedons had pHNaF > 9.5, reflecting an exchange complex dominated by amorphous Fe and Al oxides and/or humus complexes. Phosphate retention capacity (PRC) ranged from 25 to 97% and one pedon (MWZ 04) met the andic properties requirement of PRC ≥ 85%. SiO2, Al2O3 and Fe2O3 ranged from 46.5 to 62.1%, 26.3 to 38.4% and 4.0 to 9.8%, respectively. On the basis of computed Chemical Index of Alteration (CIA), the degree of weathering of the studied pedons followed the trend NDE 01>MKY 03>MKW 01>KYE 01>IFIG 02>MWZ 04. According to USDA Soil Taxonomy, the studied pedons were classified as Alfisols (pedons MKW 01, MKY 03 and NDE 01), Inceptisol (pedon IFIG 02), Andisol(pedon MWZ 04) and Entisol (Pedon KYE 01), respectively correlating to Alisols, Cambisol, Andosol and Umbrisol of WRB for Soil Resources. The studied soils were generally rated as having low to medium fertility.


Open Access Original Research Article

The Water Infiltration, Hydraulic Conductivity and Water Retention Effects of Ground Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis L.) Root as a Soil Surfactant

Ken Mix

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-10
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2016/24304

Climate change is affecting precipitation patterns and intensity; increasing regional drought conditions and increasing runoff, respectively. The use of soil surfactants presents an opportunity to improve soil water content and infiltration in soils. As aridity and drought vulnerability increase globally, improving water infiltration and retention is becoming increasingly important for agriculture as water resources are scarce and climate change shifts precipitation patterns. While surfactants are widely available for agricultural use, most or all are unapproved in sustainable and organic production. Ground soapwort (Saponaria officinalis L.) root produces saponins, natural surfactants used in several industrial applications, including soap manufacturing and soil contaminant recovery.  To determine its potential to improve soil water interactions its effects on soil hydraulic conductivity, water content, infiltration and drainage rates were tested in washed sand, heavy clay soil and clay loam soil. When compared to untreated soils, drainage and infiltration was slowed (P < 0.05) in sand and loam with soapwort applications while no significant differences in any variable were present in clay soil compared to any treatment. Soil water content was not significantly different in any treatment. While soapwort did not increase infiltration rates it did markedly slow drainage rates in sand and loam. The benefit of this may be realised as longer opportunity for plant available water in the root zone.


Open Access Original Research Article

Evaluation of Soil Fertility Status and Land Suitability for Smallholder Farmers’ Groundnut and Maize Production in Chisamba District, Zambia

Meki Chirwa, Jerome Peter Mrema, Peter Wilson Mtakwa, Abel K. Kaaya, Obed I. Lungu

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-18
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2016/25161

A study was conducted to determine the soil fertility status and the suitability of land for the smallholder farmers’ sustainable production of groundnut and maize in Chisamba District of Zambia. Composite soil samples (0 – 30 cm) were collected from the fields of 18 randomly selected major groundnut producing villages. The soils were analysed for various chemical and physical properties. Then focused group discussions as instruments of data collection were used to capture information on market availability for groundnuts. The simple limitation method was used to compute land suitability. The results showed that most (63.63%) of the soils were strongly acidic, with the mean pH of 4.95±0.35. The mean of CEC was 3.63±2.73 cmol / kg. There was a highly significant and positive relationship between pHCaCl2 and the concentration of Ca (r = 0.653, = .000), Mg (r = 0.614, P = .000) and K (r = 0.651, P = .000). There was also a positive highly significant relationship between N and SOM (r = 0.487, = .004). A positive and highly significant relationship between gender of the smallholder farmer and sale of groundnuts at markets of nearest towns (r = 0.202, P = .005) was observed. It was observed that 72.22% of the groundnuts producing areas of Chisamba District were marginally suitable (S3) for groundnut production. It was also observed that 68.75 % of the soils in the study area were marginally suitable for maize production. It was concluded that the major soil fertility limiting factors were soil acidity, low CEC, SOM, Ca, Mg, K and N. The major socio-economic limiting factor was the non-availability of stable markets.

Open Access Original Research Article

Sugar Cane Whip Smut (Sporisorium scitamineum Syd) Caused Field Sucrose and Juice Quality Losses of Two Sugar Cane Varieties in Nigeria

A. C. Wada, A. B. Anaso, M. S. Bassey

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-11
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2016/24566

Two sugar cane varieties were evaluated in a split plot design experiment at Badeggi (lat.9°045'N; long 6o07'E at an altitude of 70.57 m.a.s.l) with four whip smut (Sporisorium scitamineum) inoculum concentrations 0 x 106, 2 x 106, 4 x 106 and 6 x 106 teliospores/ml in four replicates between 1998 and 2000. The field sucrose production (% brix) was measured with a hand refractometer by using the stalks of five tagged healthy and smutted canes which were individually punched and a drop of the juice from each of them placed on the hand refractometer and covered. This was then held against the sun and viewed for the brix reading, which was recorded in percent. For the juice quality laboratory yield loss assessment, 2 healthy stalks were randomly cut from each plot and five smutted stalks were crushed using the Jeffco cutter to obtain at least 2 kg of crushed material for quality analysis. Six hundred grams of the crushed material were taken and pressed using the hydraulic hand press. The resulting juice was collected in 250 ml conical beakers. The first and last expressed brix of the juice were recorded. The temperature and hydrometer readings of the juice were also recorded. The weight of the wet bagasse was taken and again recorded after oven drying to a constant weight. These readings were used in the calculation of % reducing sugars, % Pol., Corrected brix, % Purity and % Fibre. Results showed that S. scitamineum reduced field sucrose (% Brix), % Pol., % Purity and % Fibre but increased % reducing sugars of the two test infected cane varieties.