Roles of biochar produced from animal and plant wastes on okra (Abelmoschus esculenta) growth in Umudike area of Abia State, Nigeria

Author(s): M.I. Onwuka, B.C. Nwangwu

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Abstract: In Abia State Nigeria with emphasis on Umudike area, lots of agricultural wastes are being generated. It is against this backdrop that a pot trial was conducted at the experimental field of College of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, with the aim of investigating the effect of biochar produced from different animal and plant wastes on growth and yield of okra plant. The treatments were a control (without biochar) and biochar produced from animal wastes sources namely; Bone waste, Cow dung, Goat droppings, Pig waste and Poultry droppings. Others were produced from plant wastes sources namely; Cocoa pod, Palm bunch, Saw dust, Rice mill husk, Ukpo shell (Mucuna Flagellipes) and Wood shaving. The treatments were applied at the rate of 3t/ha (whose equivalent was 86g) to 10kg of soil weighed into pots and replicated 4 times in a Completely Randomized Design. The test crop was okra (Abelmoschus esculenta) and the effects of the treatments were determined on its top biomass dry matter yield, number of leaves, the height, stem girth  at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks after planting. Biochar produced from poultry manure feedstock significantly (p ≤ 0.05) increased the plant height at eight weeks after planting among the animal feedstock biochar. It gave a value of 50.68cm over that of the control which was 25.8cm. Among the plant feedstocks biochar, the application of Ukpo shell (Mucuna Flagellipes) significantly (p≤0.05) increased the plant top biomass dry matter yield with a value of 8.1g/pot as compared to the control value of 4.4g/pot. The top biomass dry matter significantly (p≤0.05) and correlated positively with number of leaves and plant height. The result showed that among the animal feedstock and plant feedstock biochar, poultry manure and Ukpo shell (Mucuna Flagellipes) respectively improved most of the plant parameters measured.  Further research investigation in the field with the treatments is recommended.