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Migration of Soil Ammonium- Nitrogen with Amended Poultry and Sheep Manures in Ultisols of Ihiagwa, Southeastern Nigeria

Saka, H. A.*, Uzoho, B. U., Ahukaemere, C. M. and Nkwopara, U. N.
Department of Soil Science and Technology, PMB 1526, School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.
*Corresponding author
Received: 24 June 2023; Accepted: 17 July 2023; Published: 17 August 2023

Abstract: – Soil management to synchronizing nutrient release with crop uptake is essential for sustainable plant production and environmental quality. Ammonium- nitrogen (NH4+- N) dynamics of poultry and sheep manures amended Ultisols in Ihiagwa, Southeastern Nigeria were evaluated. Their levels equivalent to 0, 30 and 60 % N of both poultry and sheep manures were applied in a 32 factorial arranged in randomized complete block setup with three replications. The NH4+- N was determined from four soil depths (0 – 5, 5 – 10, 10 – 20 and 20 – 40 cm) at different weeks (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 12 weeks) after manures application (WAMA) in wet and dry seasons of 2019 and 2020. Soil NH4+- N differed with rates of poultry and sheep manures only and the integration of both manure at various soil depths, seasons and years. Concentrations of NH4+- N in most soil depths at both seasons and years were better with 60 % then 30 % N of poultry and sheep manures alone and with integrations of both manures better than single applications. Averaged over soil depths and periods after manure applications, soil ammonium- nitrogen was better in wet than dry seasons and in 2019 than 2020. Averaged over soil depths, manure rates, seasons and years, concentrations of NH4+- N varied and better at 3rd WAMA. Equally, concentrations of NH4+- N decreased down soil depths. Generally, good soil nutrient management will be useful for efficiency of nutrient and sustained crop yields. Further research is needed on the field to substantiate the findings.

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Keywords: Soil ammonium- nitrogen, poultry manure, sheep manure, Ultisols, Southeastern Nigeria.

I. Introduction

Soil is an essential resource and a vital part of the natural environment from which most of the global food is produced [10]. It is the only medium that interacts with the atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere. It is one of the Earth’s life-sustaining components which serve as physical support for plants and source of water and nutrients for plants and soil microbes [37]. It is a non– renewable resource over the human time scale [33], with its growing problems making it imperative for sound management. Soil degradation lowers its fertility and productivity and as such crop response to applied nutrient is influenced by soil properties especially, the nutrients reserve ([25], [29], [43]). Based on its properties, soils could be classified (USDA) into different types with Ultisols constituting about 72 % of soils of Southeastern, Nigeria [22].
Ultisols are group of soils with an argillic or kandic horizon (silicate clay) and a few basic cations that have developed under forest vegetation in humid climates [53]. They are found in intensely weathered humid areas and have a subsurface acidic horizon with appreciable translocated clays [39]. The warm temperatures and abundant variability of moisture enhance its weathering process and increase the rate of leaching. Its base saturation decreases with depth [48], with the clay types mainly 1: 1 types and varying amounts of hydrous oxides of Fe and Al. High kaolinite content of its mineralogy cause a low shrink–swell potential and thus relatively favorable for water retention. Also, most Ultisols have a thick sandy epipedons and/ or horizons with high bulk density that may limit water storage and root proliferation [53]. Typically, productivity of Ultisols of Southeastern Nigeria is constrained by high acidity and poor fertility status [28]. The soil pH often ranges between 4.8 and 5.5. Organic matter content, total N, available P, exchangeable bases (Ca2+, Mg2+ and K+) and cation exchange capacity (CEC) are invariably low to very low [8] while the sand fractions are dominated by such minerals as haematite, goethite, gibbsite with quartz dominating the clay mineralogy [45]. Some of the crop production problems in Southeastern Nigeria include low fertility status, highly weathered soils, high leaching, and low organic matter and available nutrients. Hence, organic manure can be used to restore such fertility.