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Effect of Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers Co-Applied with Effective Microorganism (EM) on Growth and Yield of Spinach (Spinachia olerace)

SJA_30_4_411-418

Research Article

Effect of Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers Co-Applied with Effective Microorganism (EM) on Growth and Yield of Spinach (Spinachia olerace)

Salma Shaheen, Muhammad Jamil Khan, Saleem Jilani

Faculty of Agriculture, Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan.

Abstract | A two years pot experiment was conducted using loamy textured soil to study the effect of organic manure and complex chemical fertilizer (NPK) with or without effective microorganism (EM) on the agronomic performance of spinach crop, at Gomal University D.I. Khan during 2009-11. A commercial product called Bio-Aab was used as a source of EM. Organic manure was first mixed with Bio-Aab, left for 7 to 15 days at room temperature (20oC) and then applied to appropriate pots. The treatments of farm yard manure (FYM) @ 10 t ha-1, press mud @ 20 t ha-1, compost @ 0.7 t ha-1 and poultry manure @ 5 t ha-1 were applied with half of the recommended dose of NPK @ (75:60:30 kg ha-1) with or without EM. In 2009-10, the application of EM with Press mud @ 20 t ha-1 significantly enhanced spinach growth by exhibiting higher average spinach plant height (35 cm), number of leaves (16.4), fresh foliage yields (330 g pot-1), dry foliage yields (32 g pot-1), leaf length (40.5 cm) and leaf area (238.4 mm2) relative to poultry manure, compost or FYM treatments. Similar trend was observed during 2010-11. Over all, press mud with EM was more effective in improving soil quality and enhancing spinach growth and quality followed by FYM and poultry manure. These results suggested that Press mud applied with EM have the most potential to increase yield and quality of spinach. Our results also suggest of taking integrating approach by applying organic wastes with readily available source of chemical fertilizer to minimize the risk of reduced plant growth due to immobilization and with EM to enhance mineralization of organic nutrients, therefore warrant testing under field conditions.

Editor | Tahir Sarwar, The University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Pakistan

*Correspondence | Salma Shaheen. Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan; E-mail | salmashaheen47@yahoo.com

Citation | Shaheen, S., Khan, M. J., Jilani S. 2014. Effect of organic and inorganic fertilizers co-applied with effective microorganism (EM) on growth and yield of spinach (Spinachia olerace). Sarhad Journal of Agriculture, 30(4): 411-418.

Keywords | Spinach, Press mud, Poultry manure, Yield, EM, NPK

Introduction

Soil microorganisms play a key role in enhancing soil quality, plant growth and yield (Zaman and Chang, 2014). Beneficial microorganisms are capable to fix atmospheric nitrogen (N2), decompose organic wastes and residues to release plant essential nutrients, detoxify pesticides, suppress plant disease and soil borne pathogens, enhance nutrient cycling, and produce bioactive compounds such as vitamins, hormones and enzymes that stimulate plant growth (Kurepin et al., 2014). The product of effective microorganisms (EM) was developed by a Japanese Professor, Teruo Higa, University of the Ryukyu, in the early1980s and claim to have a suite of certain species of photosynthetic bacteria (Rhodopseudomonas plastris and Rhodobacter sphacrodes), lactobacilli (Lactobacillus plantarum, L. casei, and Streptococcus lactis), yeasts (Saccharomyces spp.), and actinomycetes (Strptomyces spp.). Numerous glasshouse and field trials in Pakistan using EM showed increased crop yield, enhanced composting and mineralization of municipal/industrial wastes and effluents (Sivasubramanian and Namasivayam, 2013). Organic manures like farmyard manure, compost and poultry manures have long been used by farmers to meet the plant demand for essential nutrients, especially N and improve soil quality (Zaman et al., 2004). Compared to chemical fertilizers, organic manures contain most essential plant nutrients especially N in lower amount in organic form which mineralizes at a slow rate thereby not meeting the plant nutrient demand at critical growth stages and thus carry the risk of lowering productivity (Zaman et al., 2004); however, they have the potential to improve both soil quality and health if used correctly for long time (Ahmad et al., 2013). Press mud, an industrial waste produced by the sugar processing plants, has the potential to be used as soil amendment to provide essential plant nutrients (N, P and K) when applied to soil (Khan et al., 2012); however limited information is available on the use of these organic wastes co-applied with chemical fertilizers and EM on spinach growth and productivity. Thus this study was undertaken to investigate the effect of organic manure and chemical fertilizer co-applied with effective microorganism (EM) on the agronomic performance of spinach crop under controlled environmental conditions in glasshouse.

Materials and Methods

Pot experiments were conducted under glasshouse conditions to study the effect of effective EM co-applied with 4 commonly available organic wastes including farm yard manure (FYM) (10 t ha-1), press mud (20 t ha-1), compost (0.7 t ha-1) and poultry manure (5 t ha-1), on growth and quality of spinach at Gomal University D.I. Khan Pakistan, during 2009-10 and 2010-11. The five treatments were control or T1 (no N or EM), T2 (FYM applied at 10 t ha-1), T3 (press mud applied at 20 t ha-1), T4 (compost applied at 0.7 t ha-1) and T5 (poultry manure applied at 5 t ha-1) co-applied with half of the recommended dose of chemical fertilizer of NPK (75:60:30 kg ha-1) and EM. Each treatment was replicated 3 times in in a completely randomized design. EM was provided by Bio-Aab EM Foundation, Faisalabad, Pakistan. Soil physical and chemical properties including moisture content, texture, particle density, bulk density, organic matter, total N, available P, potassium (K), pH, and EC were determined using standard lab methods (Olsen and Watanabe 1954; MAFF, 1986; Ryan et al., 2001; Jaiswal 2003). In year-1 experiments (i.e. 2009), a total of 30 pots, each pot of 0.005385 m3 area with 20 kg of moist soil, were set up in a glasshouse. EM was first, mixed with 4 organic wastes and kept for 7-15 days at room temperature to ensure full inoculation of EM followed by applying the mixture to appropriate pots. After this step, spinach seed at 10 g pot-1 was sown on November 4, 2009. After emergence, spray irrigation using a watering cane was carefully applied at regular interval to maintain soil moisture level under glasshouse condition. Spinach crop was harvested 3 times to simulate farmer practices. The time (days) from seed germination of spinach till the 1st harvest was recorded. After harvest, plant physiological characteristics including spinach height, number of leaves, leaf length and area and foliage yield (fresh and dried), were recorded. The same trail was repeated during 2010-11 with same inputs and cultural practices. After harvesting the experimental soil was analyzed for physical and chemical characteristics and nutrients concentration to investigate the EM effect on experimental soil. The rest of the parameters were statistically analyzed for comparison and scientific discussion.

Statistical analysis

Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to compare treatments with respect to spinach yield, and other measured parameters using Statistix 9 software. Least significant difference (LSD) values at Alfa less than 0.05 were calculated when the treatment effect was significant.

Results and Discussion

Key post-harvest soil properties

After harvesting spinach, soil samples collected from each pot were analyzed for nutrients concentration. The application of organic manures with EM increased plant nutrients levels of N, P and K in soils compared with no EM treatments (Table.1). These results are in line with those of Namasivayam and Kirithiga (2010). Organic wastes are rich sources of carbonaceous and proteinaceous compounds (C, protein, amino acids), and micro-nutrients (Zaman et al., 1999 a, b), therefore when they were co applied with EM and NPK, their application enhanced soil fertility and quality and availability of these nutrients. However most of these nutrients are in organic forms and need to be mineralised by a wide range of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi etc.) to plant available form like ammonium, nitrate, phosphate, potassium and others. The applied EM is likely to have enhanced the

Table 1. The effect of applying EM with organic wastes on Physical and chemical characteristics of the soil used in the 2 experiments.

Treatment

EC (dsm-1 )

-EM +EM

pH .

-EM +EM

Organic Matter (%)

-EM +EM

Saturation (%)

-EM +EM

Control

0.50

0.50

7.8

7.8

0.95

0.95

26

35

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

0.66

0.75

6.7

6.98

0.93

0.99

39

45

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

0.68

0.68

6.8

7.45

0.94

0.98

40

49

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

0.55

0.68

7.86

7.94

0.99

1.3

38

44

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

0.66

0.72

7.9

7.98

0.96

1.2

42

48

Treatment

N (mg kg-1)

-EM +EM

P (mg kg-1)

-EM +EM

K (mg kg-1)

-EM + EM

Control

440

440

4

4

47

47

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

356

432

8

9

75

101

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

485

502

11

13

93

108

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

635

630

10

12

90

99

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

634

655

11

12

95

105

-EM = Without EM, +EM = With EM

Table 2. The effect of applying EM with organic wastes on spinach growth.

Treatments

Without EM

With EM

Date of germination

Days taken to first cutting

Date of germination

Days taken to first cutting

Control

12-11-09

69 days

12-11-09

69 days

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

9-11-09

66 days

7-11-09

60 days

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

8-11-09

65 days

5-11-09

59 days

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

9-11-09

66 days

7-11-09

60 days

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

8-11-09

65 days

6-11-09

60 days

FYM + RDF of NPK

11-11-09

68 days

9-11-09

63 days

Table 3. Plant height (cm) of spinach as influenced by applying EM with organic wastes during 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Treatment

1st cutting

-EM +EM

2nd cutting

- EM + EM

3rd cutting

-EM + EM

Average

-EM + EM

2009-10

Control

13.5

14.2

16.2

15.3

14.9

15.1

14.9

14.8

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

16.5

19.7

20

22.7

17.2

20.6

17.9

21

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

35

37.8

35.3

38.4

27.3

29.2

32.5

35

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

12.8

20.3

16.4

19

15.4

16.4

14.9

18.6

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

17.1

20.6

23

25.4

20.6

23.4

20.2

23.2

LSD for EM at P0.05 = 2.508

LSD for treatments X EM at P0.05 =4.72

LSD for EM at P0.05 =2.74925 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =2.912

LSD for EM at P0.05 =3.1526

LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05=3.4549

2010-11

Control

13

13

16.5

16.5

15

15

14.8

14.8

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

17.4

20.6

23.5

25.6

21

24

20.6

23.4

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

32.6

37.5

40.5

45.8

38.4

42.7

37.2

42

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

15.4

23

18.5

26.1

16.9

23.8

16.9

24.3

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

19.5

25.4

25.6

29

22.7

27.7

22.6

27.3

LSD for EM at P0.05 =3.6514 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05=3.9391

LSD for EM at P0.05 = 3.3245

LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =3.3936

LSD for EM at P0.05 =2.8370 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =3.4512

rate of mineralisation and made them available in soil for plant uptake. Organic wastes if applied correctly, also the most potential to improve soil physical fertility including enhanced water retention, water filled pore spaces and structure stability.

Seed germination and time (days) taken to reach first harvest of spinach

Time taken from seed germination to the first harvest of spinach is given in table 2. Treatments applied with EM enhanced spinach growth compared to no EM and thus narrowed the harvesting time by 5 days. This could be attributed to the stimulating effect of EM by providing plant growth hormones like GA, Auxins, Cytokinin, brassinsterioid etc (Kurepin et al 2014). Growing spinach in a short period is economical and also has impact on its quality which will be discussed later.

Plant Height (cm):

Plant height was significantly influenced (P<0.05) by the organic wastes applied with EM (Table 3). During 2009-10 growth season, press mud applied with EM produced plant height of 37.8, 38.4 and 29.20 cm in 1st, 2nd and 3rd harvest respectively. Similar trend was observed in 2010-11, when press mud co-applied with EM resulted in plant height of 37.5, 45.8 and 42.7 cm in 1st, 2nd and 3rd harvest respectively. These results suggest that organic wastes like press mud application with EM have the large potential to increase spinach growth as seen in this glasshouse trial. Most organic wastes contain less N (i.e. high C: N ratio), therefore applying on their own may immobilize N and thus reduce plant growth. However when organic wastes are co-applied with chemical fertilizer like NPK in our experiment, the added nutrients in chemical fertilisers not only stimulate the mineralization of organic nutrients in organic wastes (Zaman et al., 2002a) and thus enhance plant growth through adequate supply of essential plant nutrients in the presence of sufficient C inputs. Our results also support earlier findings of Chantal, et al. (2013) who reported that bio-organic fertilizers with EM significantly increased plant height of flue-cured tobacco.

Fresh Foliage Yield (g pot-1)

Fresh foliage yield of spinach was also significantly (P< 0.05) affected by the organic wastes applied with EM inoculation as well as their interaction (Table 4). During 2009-10, press mud applied with EM produced significantly (P<0.05) high fresh foliage yield of 285.2, 369 and 336.2 g pot-1 in 1st, 2nd and 3rd harvest respectively. In 2010-11, similar trend of increased fresh foliage yield by press mud with EM was

Table 4. The effect of applying EM with organic wastes on spinach Fresh Foliage yield (g pot-1) during 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Treatment

1st cutting

-EM +EM

2nd cutting

-EM +EM

3rd cutting

-EM + EM

Average

-EM + EM

2009-10

Control

15.9

17.8

17.6

18.2

21.6

20.9

18.4

18.9

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

64.67

113.15

80.66

136.80

65.77

116.12

70.4

122

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

190.6

285.2

345.2

369

318.5

336.2

284.8

330.2

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

34.3

83.4

82.3

158.4

34.2

120.4

50.2

120.7

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

136.5

166.1

184

220.7

119.7

174.7

146.8

187.2

LSD for EM at P0.05 =51.2915 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =76.87

LSD for EM at P0.05 =47.086 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =58.649

LSD for EM at P0.05 = 53.9665 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05=60.084

2010-11

Control

15

15

18.5

18.5

17.3

17.3

16.94

16.95

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

58.7

75.8

70.7

125.6

106.9

120.5

78.8

107.3

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

186.7

281.3

228.3

350.5

309.7

345.6

241.6

325.8

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

85.5

125.7

109.6

169.6

98.5

140.7

97.9

145.3

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

125.4

140.6

190.7

207.4

187.1

198.4

167.8

182.1

LSD for EM at P0.05 =6.3443 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =9.288

LSD for EM at P0.05 = 91.945 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =111.945

LSD for EM at P0.05 =14.156 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05=15.033

Table 5. The effect of applying EM with organic wastes on spinach Dry Foliage yield (g pot-1) during 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Treatment

1st cutting

-EM +EM

2nd cutting

-EM +EM

3rd cutting

-EM + EM

Average

-EM + EM

2009-10

Control

3

2.7

3.7

3.1

3.4

2.8

3.4

2.9

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

8.3

10.5

11.4

14.2

5.2

11.4

8.3

12

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

26.8

30.3

25.6

34.6

31

31

27.8

32

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

7.7

12.2

8.62

18.1

5.6

14.6

7.3

15

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

14.6

17

17.6

18.1

13.4

18.8

15.2

18

LSD for EM at P0.05 =3.9429 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =5.2579

LSD for EM at P0.05 =3.25845 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =3.1135

LSD for EM at P0.05 = 3.1025 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =3.656

2010-11

Control

2.4

2.4

3.8

3.8

3.6

3.6

3.3

3.3

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

9

10.5

11.6

13.3

10.5

12.4

10.4

12

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

20.6

28.7

30.6

35.3

25.5

33.5

25.6

32.5

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

10.4

12.6

13.5

16.4

12.5

15.4

12.1

14.8

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

12.5

13.2

16.6

20.5

15.5

18.2

14.9

17.3

LSD for EM at P0.05 =1.8149 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 = 3.334

LSD for EM at P0.05 =1.7914 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =2.127

LSD for EM at P0.05 =2.1161 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =2.306

Table 6. The effect of applying EM with organic wastes on spinach number of leaves per plant during 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Treatment

1st cutting

-EM +EM

2nd cutting

-EM +EM

3rd cutting

-EM + EM

Average

-EM + EM

2009-10

Control

11.2

11.8

12.7

13.6

12

13.6

11.9

13

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

6

10.1

10.1

16.2

6.3

10.9

7.5

12.4

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

10

12

15

20.6

14

16.6

13

16.4

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

6

9.1

7

12.3

6.8

9.2

6.6

10.2

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

6.7

11.3

10.3

16

9

12.3

8.6

13.2

LSD for EM at P0.05 =4.52265 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =5.1476

LSD for EM at P0.05 = 4.5202 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 = 4.45755

LSD for EM at P0.05 =3.8938 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 = 4.3927

2010-11

Control

10

10

14

14

12

12

12

12

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

7.3

9.6

8

12.7

7.5

11

22.8

11.1

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

11.3

12.3

14.3

22

12

18

12.5

17.4

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

7.1

10

10.7

17

8.8

14

8.8

13.7

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

8

11

10.5

14.5

9.4

13

9.3

12.8

LSD for EM at P0.05 =1.2615 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 = 1.9773

LSD for EM at P0.05 = 1.5957 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =2.9357

LSD for EM at P0.05 = 1.3288 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 = 2.1295

seen. Press mud with EM produced 281.3, 350.5 and

345.6 g pot-1 in 1st, 2nd and 3rd harvest respectively. Poultry manure applied with EM also increased fresh foliage yield, but such increases were lower than those of the press mud treatment. Organic wastes are known to improve soil physical, chemical and biological fertility of the soil. Organic matter serves not only as a source of essential plant nutrients, but also improves soil physical, chemical and biological fertility which is essential for recycling of nutrients. Our findings are in line with Kurepin, et al (2013) who reported that the inoculation of wheat plants in salt affected soil with PGPRs significantly increased straw yield.

Table 7. The effect of applying EM with organic wastes on spinach Leaf length (cm) during 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Treatment

1st cutting

-EM +EM

2nd cutting

-EM +EM

3rd cutting

-EM + EM

Average

-EM + EM

2009-10

Control

13.9

14.6

16.9

16.3

14.9

15.8

15.2

15.5

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

24.8

22.5

28.3

38.8

27.4

30.6

26.8

30.6

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

35.5

41.4

37.4

39.4

36.3

40.7

36.4

40.5

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

19.5

19.6

18.2

25.6

17.1

21.3

18.3

22.2

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

29.1

35.7

33.4

39.6

31.6

37.2

31.4

37.5

LSD for EM at P0.05 =3.4981

LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =3.628

LSD for EM at P0.05 =1.39985

LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 = 2.8694

LSD for EM at P0.05 =2.3633

LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =2.1652

2010-11

Control

13.5

13.5

15.8

15.8

14

14.5

14.4

14.6

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

17.7

20.7

20.8

23.5

19.1

22.6

19.2

22.3

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

33.5

37.3

38.6

41.5

36.3

39.7

36.1

39.5

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

25.5

32.4

27.9

36.6

26.6

33.5

26.7

34.2

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

28.4

34.2

35.7

37.5

31.9

35.5

32

35.7

LSD for EM at P0.05 =3.7202

LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 = 4.5236

LSD for EM at P0.05 = 4.8463

LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =5.0005

LSD for EM at P0.05 = 3.2592

LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =8.0789

Table 8. The effect of applying EM with organic wastes on spinach Leaf area (mm2) during 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Treatment

1st cutting

-EM +EM

2nd cutting

-EM +EM

3rd cutting

-EM + EM

Average

-EM + EM

2009-10

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

28.3

27.6

22.9

31.7

7.1

26.9

19.4

28.7

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

126.4

139.8

151

192.5

131.3

141.2

136.2

157.9

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

145.2

173.8

206.2

372.1

164.4

169.2

171.9

79.5

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

118.4

137.9

135.5

142.5

125.5

125.7

126.4

135.4

Poultry

137

165.8

158.4

215.1

141.6

147.6

145.7

176.2

LSD for EM at P0.05 =70.0365 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =92.317

LSD for EM at P0.05 =34.5965

LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =48.527

LSD for EM at P0.05 = 36.464 LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =71.012

2010-11

Control

22.2

22.2

25.7

25.7

23.7

23.7

23.9

23.9

FYM + ½ RDF of NPK

121

135.5

152.5

160.6

122.6

147.5

132

147.9

Press mud + ½ RDF of NPK

141.6

168.8

221.8

350.6

176.7

298.5

180

272.6

Compost + ½ RDF of NPK

125.5

140.7

150.5

170.7

135.6

152.5

137.2

154.6

Poultry + ½ RDF of NPK

133.6

157.4

197.6

206.5

139.7

162.7

157

175.5

LSD for EM at P0.05 =6.7660

LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =7.0416

LSD for EM at P0.05 =8.4962

LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =7.8919

LSD for EM at P0.05 =8.4435

LSD for Treatments X EM at P0.05 =7.6276

Dry Foliage Yield (g pot-1)

Like the fresh foliage yield, dry foliage yield was significantly (P<0.05) influenced by organic wastes applied with EM and their interaction (Table 5). During 2009-10, press mud applied with EM produced the highest dry yield of 30.3, 34.6 and 31 g pot-1 in 1st, 2nd and 3rd cuttings respectively. In 2010-11, somewhat similar trend was observed in the treatment of press mud with EM and the dry foliage yields were 28.7, 35.5 and 33.5 g pot-1 for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd harvests respectively. Poultry manure and FYM applied with EM also significantly (P<0.05) increased dry foliage yield of spinach. The average effect of treatments and EM was also significant. The highest dry foliage yield was recorded in pots where press mud was applied with EM. It varied statistically from all other combinations. Our results are in line with Chantal, et al. (2013) who reported that EM with bio-organic fertilizers significantly increased dry biomass of flue-cured tobacco. Kurepin, et al. (2013) also reported that inoculation with Azospirillum sp. caused increased grain yield and shoot dry matter in cereals.

Number of leaves plant-1

The number of leaves per plant was significantly (P<0.05) affected by different organic wastes applied with EM (Table 6). The highest number of leaves of 12, 20 and 16 plant-1 was exhibited by the press mud treatment with EM in 1st, 2nd and 3rd harvests during 2009-10 respectively. The numbers of leaves during 2010-11 were 12, 22 and 18 plant-1 in 1st, 2nd and 3rd harvest for the same treatment. Poultry manure and FYM applied with EM also resulted in high number of leaves compared to these treatments with out EM. These two treatments were not significantly different from each other, but they were significantly (P<0.05) higher than where no EM was applied with these treatments. The average effect of treatments and EM was also significant. Organic wastes enhance cation exchange capacity of the soil thereby improving the nutrient availability as well as minimize the potential of nutrients losses by leeching and surface runoff. Similar results were shown by Chantal, et al. (2013) who reported that EM with bio-organic fertilizers significantly increased fresh leaf yield of flue-cured tobacco.

Leaf Length (cm)

The length of leaf per plant was significantly (P<0.05) affected by different organic manures and inorganic fertilizers in presence of EM (Table 7). Significantly (P<0.05) highest leaf length were 41.4, 39.4 and 40.7 cm in 1st, 2nd and 3rd harvests during 2009-10, while 37.3, 41.53 and 39.7 cm in 1st, 2nd and 3rd harvests respectively during 2010-11 were reported in press mud with EM followed by poultry manure and FYM, which differed statistically from one another. Application of EM significantly increased number of leaves of spinach. The average effect of treatments and EM was also significant. Organic matter also improves the permeability of root cell membrane by humic acids, increasing the uptake of water and other nutrients. Therefore the added press mud resulted in high plant growth and yield in our experiment. Same results were shown by Chantal, et al (2013) who reported that EM with bio-organic fertilizers significantly increased fresh leaf yield of flue-cured tobacco.

Leaf Area (mm2)

The leaf area was significantly (P<0.05) affected by various organic wastes in combination with EM (Table 8). Significantly (P<0.05) greatest leaf area of 174, 372, and 169 mm2 in 1st, 2nd and 3rd harvest was observed during 2009-10, while in 2010-11, maximum figures of 169, 350 and 298 mm2 in 1st, 2nd and 3rd harvest were noticed in press mud with EM which was followed by poultry manure with EM. The data indicated that among organic wastes, press mud enhanced plant height more than other sources of organic wastes. The data revealed that EM may be used along with organic manures for achieving better results. Similar results were shown by Chantal, et al (2013) who reported that EM with bio-organic fertilizers significantly increased fresh leaf yield of flue-cured tobacco.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The application of EM in combination with press mud (20 ton ha-1) and ½ NPK (75: 60:30 kg ha-1) considerably enhanced the spinach yield and growth parameters on a loamy soil. Such increase in plant growth and yield of spinach could be attributed to supply of essential plant nutrients by press mud. These results warrant further testing under variable field conditions.

References

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Sarhad Journal of Agriculture

September

Vol. 35, Iss. 3, Pages 663-1019

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