Effect Of Composted Municipal Solid Waste And Npk Fertilizer On The Growth And Yield Of Maize (Zea Mays L) In Nsukka

Project and Seminar Material for Agricultural Engineering AE

Effect Of Composted Municipal Solid Waste And Npk Fertilizer On The Growth And Yield Of Maize (Zea Mays L) In Nsukka


Municipalities are facing a growing problem of how to safely dispose off their wastes. Municipal solid waste (MSW) is waste from households, commercial centres, institutions (school, offices). Composting is used to reduce huge pile of biodegradable MSW and convert it into value added product like manure and biogas. Inorganic fertilizer such as NPK also exerts strong influence on plant growth, development and yield. Two year experiments were conducted in the Teaching and Research Farm of Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka to determine the response of maize to MSW compost and NPK fertilizer application. A 4 x 4 factorial experiment in Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with three replications was used for the study. The two factors were MSW (0, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 t/ha) and NPK (20:10:10) (0, 100, 200 and 300 kg/ha). The following data were collected: leaf area, Plant height, stem girth, number of leaves, days to first tasseling, plant fresh weight, plant dry weight, ear weight, ear height, ear circumference, cob weight, 100 grain weight, grain yield and harvest index. Data collected were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA). The means were separated using Fisher’s least significant difference (F-LSD).

Plant height, leaf area, number of leaves and stem girth increased with increase in NPK and MSW rates while days to tasselling and silking was reduced. The 100 grain weight, grain yield per hectare and harvest index were significantly increased with increase in MSW and NPK rates. Proximate composition followed the same trend apart from carbohydrate content which decreased with increase in application rates of MSW and NPK. Application of either 2000 kg/ha MSW or 300 kg/ha NPK gave the highest yield of maize in 2011 and 2012. Complementary application of MSW and NPK was significantly higher than sole application. Combination of 2.0 t/ha MSW with 300 kg/ha NPK had significantly higher effect than other treatment combination in both years and were found satisfactory for achieving high yields in maize. It is recommended that further research should be carried out to determine the optimum rates required for maize production since performance increased up to the highest rates of MSW and NPK fertilizer.

Chapter One


Background of the Study

Urban areas in Nigeria are facing a growing problem of how to safely dispose off their solid wastes. Bryan and Morton (2007) defined municipal solid waste (MSW) as waste from multifamily, commercial, and institutional (schools and government offices) centre. This definition excludes many materials that are frequently disposed with MSW in landfills including combustion ash; water waste treatment residuals, construction and demolition waste, and non hazardous industrial process waste (U.S EPA, 2007).

In most developing countries like Nigeria, MSW are used as landfills or dumped in sites where people no longer use. In some sites where MSWs are dumped, they are burnt when the heap is large and overflows. Many strategies are being adopted to dispose wastes but most of them are neither safe for the environment nor sustainable for nutrient conservation (Rizwan et al., 2006).

Municipal solid waste is composed of prutesible (biodegradable) and non prutesible (non biodegradable) constituents. Prutesible fraction includes waste from kitchen, paper industries, wood scraps etc. Non prutesible includes waste from rubber, automobile and polythene industries etc.

Oyinlola (2001) reported that the organic components account for about 76% of total MSW in Nigeria. Anton et al. (2005) stressed that in order to minimize environmental impacts and the loss of organic resources, there should be measures taken to increase and improve sorting at source of origin, recuperation and recycling, including compositing of organic and green MSW. Organic MSW is described as house hold wastes and other wastes which because of their nature of composition, are similar to house hold wastes, capable of undergoing anaerobic or aerobic decomposition, excluding green MSW from gardens and parks, which include tree cuttings, branches, grass and wood (European Commission, 2001).

Composting is one of the best solutions to reduce the huge pile of organic waste and its conversion to a value added product. It is one of the major recycling processes by which nutrients present in organic materials are returned back to the soil in plant available form (Inckel et al., 1996). The application of organic manure to soil provides benefits including improving the fertility, structure, water holding capacity of soil, organic matter in the soil and reducing the amount of synthetic fertilizer needed for crop production (Phan et al., 2002; Blay et al., 2002).

Statement of the Study

The low fertility status of most tropical soils hinders crop production as most crops have a strong exhausting effect on the soil. It is generally observed that crops fail to produce reasonably in plots without adequate nutrients. Inorganic fertilizer such as NPK exerts strong influence on plant growth, development and yield (Stefano et al., 2004). The availability of sufficient nutrients from inorganic fertilizer leads to improved cell activities, enhanced cell multiplication and enlargement and luxuriant growth (Fashina et al., 2002). However excessive or continual use of NPK fertilizer will lead to loss of soil fertility due to improper use of it which has adverse impact on agricultural productivity, cause soil degradation and even contaminate underground water resources.

Wheat, rice and maize are the most important cereal crops in the world but maize is the most popular due to its high yielding and ease of processing (Jaliya et al., 2008). Maize is a major source of carbohydrate. Other nutrients which can be derived are protein, iron, vitamin B, and minerals. Maize is also utilized in the livestock, textile and pharmaceutical industries. Maize has immense potential in the tropics and yields up to 7.5t/ha of grain if the crop is properly managed (Kolawole and Joyle, 2009). Unfortunately, yields are still generally below 5t/ha in Nigeria (FAO, 2007). Yield differences within temperate areas have been attributed to low nutrient status of tropical soils especially nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium resulting from the practice of slash and burn farming system associated with bush fallow and excessive leaching of the soil nutrients. This system is presently unsustainable due to high population pressure and other human activities which have resulted in reduced fallow period (Steiner, 1991).

Objectives of the Study

This study was conducted to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Determine the response of maize to MSW compost
  2. Evaluate the response of maize to combined effects of MSW compost and NPK fertilizer application,
  3. Determine the effect of MSW compost and NPK fertilizer on the nutrient composition of maize.

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Among the major nutrients required by crops, N is perhaps the most important because of its biological roles. However, the application of large quantities of commercial fertilizers provides a great potential for N contamination of surface and ground water (Dormaar and Chang, 1995). Continuous fertilization has resulted in increased soil N that has led to environmental concerns. The use of organic fertilizers as a source of N and other nutrients for plants can greatly reduce the environmental problems associated with the use of inorganic fertilizers (Tilson et al., 2005).
The rather low values of N observed in the experimental sites prior to planting were indication of low fertility of the soil of the experimental sites (Ibedu et al, 1988). The low soil pH in water and KCl indicated that the soil was acidic in nature in both sites. Some plants grow well over wide range of pH, while others are very sensitive to small variations in acidity and alkalinity. Microbial activity in the soil is also affected by soil pH with most activity occurring in pH of 5.0 – 7.0. Soil pH affects the availability of nutrients, cation-exchange activity in the soil and also the availability of nutrients such as molybdenum, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium (Belinda, 2000). The MSW pH used for the study was higher when compared to the pH values of the experimental sites. This suggests that application of the compost could have buffered the soil which helped the soil to provide the nutrients required by the plant. Application of MSW could have also improved the soil structure, porosity, aeration, drainage and moisture holding capacity according to Bresson et al, (2001).

Laboratory results also showed that MSW had higher organic matter content when compared with the experimental sites used for the study. This implies that MSW provided the micro-nutrients (Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu) needed by the plant when applied on the sites as these micro-nutrients availability depends on the amount of organic matter present in the soil. This is in agreement with the works of Gallardo-lara and Nogales (1987) and Antoniadis and Alloway (2003) who reported that compost contains high amount of organic matter, its oxidation and degradation and neutral pH increase micro-nutrients availability such as Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu in soil. This also explains the reason why plants planted in plots treated with MSW performed better than the control (no MSW).

Plant height, stem girth and number of leaves were increased with increase in application rate of municipal solid waste (MSW), with 2.0 t/ha performing better than other treatment rates in the two planting seasons. This showed that vegetative growth was improved with increase in MSW rate. Similar observation was made by Ozores-Hampton and Bryan (1993) on Phaseolus vulgaris. These plant traits (plant height and stem girth) also increased significantly in both 2011 and 2012 with the increase in NPK up to 300 kg/ha rate. The increase in NPK fertilizer rate increased the soil N status and resulted in greater vegetative growth. This agrees with FAO (2003) report which stated that maize production can be increased with higher levels of fertilizer especially NPK application. Combined MSW with NPK performed better than sole application of MSW or NPK fertilizer. Ghaly and Alkoaik (2010) made similar observation

Leaf area increased with the increasing rate of MSW. The 2.0 t/ha rate of MSW performed gave higher area than lower rates while 300 kg/ha of NPK produced higher value than other lower rates of NPK fertilizer. Obidebube et al. (2012) had reported that higher rates of NPK greater than lower rates when applied on maize.

Application of municipal solid waste reduced days to tasseling and silking in the planting seasons. Rate of 2.0 t/ha of MSW had the least days to tasseling and silking than other rate of application in 2011 planting seasons while 1.5 t/ha MSW had the least number of days to tasselling and silking in 2012 planting season. Higher nutrient levels particularly N increased especially as the treatment rate increased and accounted for the increase in the nutrients available for plant uptake, thereby promoting of earliness in tasselling and silking. Dominils and Shaw (1952) observed that high N application hastened tasseling and silking in maize. The 300 kg/ha of NPK had the lowest days to tasselling and silking. Combined application of MSW and NPK (2.0 t/ha with 300 kg/ha respectively) quickened maturation than application of NPK or MSW alone. This could be attributed to the inclusion of MSW that acted organically by releasing the nutrient applied as the application rate increased and also provided other needed nutrients required in the growth stage which in turn hastened the reproductive process of the plant.

Irrespective of weather condition in 2011 and 2012 planting seasons the Municipal solid waste rate of 2.0 t/ha gave the highest yield in both planting seasons. This suggested that increase in rate of MSW increased grain filling and dry matter content of plant which resulted to appreciable grain yield. Application of NPK followed same trend as MSW. Obidiebube et al; (2012) observed same when NPK at different levels was applied on maize. Combination of 300 kg/ha of NPK and 2.0 t/ha of MSW performed higher than other combinations in the two planting seasons. This suggests that maize growth with organic manure requires supplemental doses of inorganic fertilizers in order to achieve optimum production. Titiloye et al; (1982) observed that complementary application of organic and inorganic manure increased the efficiency of nutrient release than sole application of organic and inorganic fertilizer especially on short duration crop like maize.

Municipal solid waste increased proximate composition of maize grain as the application rate increased except for carbohydrate that decreased with increase in application rate. Application of NPK followed same trend. The relationship between N fertilizer and consumption of soluble carbohydrates in plants may be due to metabolism nitrogen fixation. Since some of the intermediate metabolic in TCA cycle is used for amino-acid and protein synthesis, so the amount of carbohydrate is reduced especially in crops like maize (Almodares et al, 2009). This was also observed by Savotskii and Salmanov (1972) and Ghaly (1976) that increase in N fertilizer application rate decreased the total soluble sugar % and carbohydrate % in grains of corn. Complementary application performed better than sole application. The finding suggests that N concentration increased with increase in application rate especially as it determined the crude protein content of the grain. This result is in agreement with Akintoye and Olaniyan (2004). They observed that fertilizer application significantly increased the values of proximate composition of maize grain. Ogbonna et al (2012) reported that improved nutritional value of maize grain resulting from the application of the formulations may be attributed to the increased soil fertility.

Plant performance was higher in 2012 than 2011 planting season excerpt for yield traits like ear circumference, grain yield per hectare and harvest index that were higher in 2011. This could be attributed to the distribution of rainfall in the two years. The month of August marked the silking stage of the plant and this coincided with the period drought in 2012 which explains the better yield in 2011. Drought stress generally lowers yield potential either by restricting growth during the vegetative period of development and hence the subsequent capacity for photosynthesis during grain filling or by damaging the embryo ears so that the sink for photosynthesis product is reduced (Aderi, 1993). In turn, rainfall plays a major role on nutrient solubility and absorption by plant and on the translocation of photosynthates from the source to the sink (Aderi, 1993). Generally, amount of rainfall that is well distributed is needed for high maize yield.


The results showed that the various vegetative growth parameters measured such as plant height, leaf area, number of leaves and stem girth increased with increase in MSW or NPK rates. Days to tasselling and silking was reduced with increase in treatment rates.

Yield parameters also increased with increase in MSW or NPK rates. Proximate composition increased with the increase in treatment rates except for carbohydrate content which decreased.

Combined application of MSW with NPK gave higher values than sole application of MSW or NPK fertilizer. Municipal solid waste rate of 2.0 t/ha performed higher than lower rates while 300 kg/ha of NPK performed better than lower rates. Combination of 2.0 t/ha of MSW and 300 kg/ha produced higher than other treatment combinations and was found satisfactory to improve growth and yield performance of maize in the study.

It is recommended that further research should be carried out to determine the optimum rate required for maize production since performance increased with increase in rate of application.


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