See more from this Session: General Agronomic Production Systems: I
Four strains of myccorhizal fungi (Glomus facultative (Gf), Glomus mossae (Gm), Glomus agregatum (Ga) and Glomus intraradices (Gi) and goat manure were assessed as organic fertilization options on the agronomic performance of Moringa oleifera over a 60-day growing period in a randomized complete block design, relative to chemical (NPK) and zero fertilizations. Data were collected on germination percentages, average plant heights, canopy formation, biomass yields and the leaf:stem ratios. The resulting biomasses were sampled and analyzed for crude protein, and the fibre components.
There were no significant (P>0.05) fertilization effects on germination percentage and plant height at germination. The myccorhizal fungi, NPK and goat manure produced comparable moringa biomass yields, with each fertilization option producing above 4 tons DM/ha. The leaf:stem ratios at harvest ranged from 75:25 (zero fertilization) to 80:20 (NPK and Gi) with no significant (P>0.05) fertilization effects. No significant (P>0.05) fertilization effects were observed on the crude protein and fibre components of the resulting moringa leaves. Significant (P<0.05) effects on canopy formation were however observed from the third week of the study with NPK fertilization producing almost 60% canopy during the third week while the other fertilization treatments produced canopies in the range of 24.38% to 41.25%.
Mycorrhizal fungi and goat manure applications appear as practical alternatives to chemical fertilization in the cultivation of Moringa oleifera for leaf production, with goat manure having the edge in terms of relative availability and cost. Additional edge is nutrient cycling, a cardinal principle in organic agriculture.