Organic Pineapple Production System for Sustainable Soil Fertility and Fruit Yield in the Rainforest Agroecology of South-Eastern Nigeria.
Nze, E. O.
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A field experiment was conducted in Federal University of Technology Owerri to determine the effects of different rates of poultry manure (10.00, 20.00 and 30.00 t ha-1) mulched with different types (palm bunch, sawdust and wood-shavings) and rates (0.00, 10.00 and 20.00 t ha-1) on the growth and yield patterns of pineapple, weed smoldering capacity of mulch, soil residual property and profitability of these treatment combinations. The experiment was a 3x3x3 factorial fitted into a Randomized Complete Block Design. The pre and post-harvest soil physical and chemical properties were also analyzed. The treatments were combined in all possible combinations and were replicated thrice. Standard poultry manure rates of 20.00 t ha-1 with zero mulch were used as the control. Data on pineapple growth, weed supressiveness by mulch, lodging, flowering and ripening, suckering ability and yield parameters were collected and statistically analyzed using GenStat Release 10.3 Discovery Edition 4. Application of 30.00 t ha-1 of poultry manure gave tallest pineapple (88.00 cm), highest number of leaves (46.70), yield (61.50 t ha-1) and sucker (8.40). Also application of 20.00 t ha-1 of mulch types gave the tallest pineapple (89.00 cm), highest number of leaves (44.48), pineapple yield (69.30 t ha-1) and suckers (8.40) when compared with wood-shavings and sawdust rates. Palm bunch gave the highest yield of 64.00 t ha-1 when compared with other types. The interaction of 30 t ha-1 poultry manure and 20.00 t ha-1 mulch produced the highest number of leaves and fruit yield (52.78 and 73.40 t ha-1) each over other interaction rates. Mulch rates significantly influenced weed suppression. 20.00 t ha-1 of mulch produced the least fresh weed biomass of 1.18, 1.15 and 2.50 kg ha-1 at 4, 8 and12 MAP respectively while zero mulch produced the highest fresh weed biomass of 3.85, 4.54 and 6.22 kg ha-1 at 4, 8 and 12 MAP respectively. However, interaction of mulch and poultry manure rates significantly affected fresh weed biomass at 8 MAP. Thus the least fresh weed biomass (1.08 kg ha-1) was produced by the interaction 20.00 t ha-1 of any mulch type and 10.00 t ha-1 of poultry manure while the highest fresh weed biomass (5.24 kg ha-1) was produced by 0.00 t ha-1 of any mulch type and 30.00 t ha-1 of poultry manure. Soil residual properties showed a positive improvement from the applied treatments. Thus, the plot that received 20.00 t ha-1 of palm bunch and 30.00 t ha-1 of poultry manure showed significant improvement in pH level, organic matter content, potassium and phosphorus content over the pre-soil analysis values. The Benefit Cost Ratio analysis (BCR) showed that the 27 treatments were all profitable as all their BCR values were all above unity. The plots manured with 30.00 t ha-1 of poultry manure and 20.00 t ha-1 of palm bunch gave the highest profit of #9,411,127.03. It is therefore recommended for sustainable soil fertility and profitable organic pineapple production for farmers in rainforest agro-ecology of south-eastern Nigeria.