Fertilizers are materials of natural or synthetic origin which when applied to soils or to growing plants can promote their growth and yield. They supply one and more nutrients essential to the growth of plants. John L. Halvin et al (2014) in his book “Soil Fertility and Fertilizers” quotes from Shaler (1891), saying:
“When we perceive that civilization rests on the food giving capacities of the soil; when we perceive that all of the future advances of our kind depend upon the preservation and enhancement of its fertility, we owe to it.”
The need to use fertilizers has come into better appreciation as farmers realize its importance in improving the low nutrient status of tropical soils. As population increases, most of the cultivatable lands are taken up for uses other than crop production. Despite advances in the technique of agricultural production, significant proportion of the current world population is undernourished, primarily the underdeveloped nations (John L. Halvin et al., 2014). It is reported that our soils cannot support sustainable crop production over a meaningful time period (Adeoye et al., 2005). In the circumstance, the use of fertilizers offers a way out. Moses (1983) declared that the productivity of any given plant is a function of nutrient availability. The use of fertilizers is clearly very important because it enables the meeting of the nutritional and industrial needs of the teaming population.
Some factors hinder farmers from using fertilizers and they are: high product cost, farmer’s level of technology adoption, bulkiness of organic fertilizers, lack of information on the usage, etc. As earlier defined, fertilizers appear in different forms, which include liquid (as foliar), inorganic solids, bulky organic solids (manures).
The quest to know the best fertilizer to use either singly or in combination, to obtain better results in yield and in soil improvement has prompted this study of the effects of fertilizer type and combinations on the yield and uptake of selected nutrients by maize. Maize grows quickly and responds readily to nutrient supply effects. The bulkiness of organic manures also demands combinations of organic and inorganic types in order to reduce bulkiness while retaining the positive impacts of both types. Foliar spray fertilizers is coming more and more into vogue as they are claimed to promote high yields even in very small quantities. The aim of this experiment is to compare the effects of fertilizer type and mode of application on nutrient uptake and yield of maize.
1.1. SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
To compare the effects of fertilizer types on soil properties.
To assess the effects of the 5 fertilizers on the uptake of N, P, K, Ca, Mg.
To assess interaction effects between fertilizer type and rate on yield and nutrient uptake.
To compare the effects of 5 fertilizers and combinations on the growth and yield of maize.
To proffer recommendations on fertilizer type and rate for the crop and soil under test.
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