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Integration of Mineral Fertilizer and Poultry Manure for Improving Soil Health and Maize Growth under Calcareous Soil Environment


Research Article

Integration of Mineral Fertilizer and Poultry Manure for Improving Soil Health and Maize Growth under Calcareous Soil Environment

Muhammad Fiyyaz1, Ghulam Sarwar1*, Noor-Us-Sabah1, Mukkram Ali Tahir1, Muhammad Aftab2, Muhammad Zeeshan Manzoor1, Sarfraz Hussain3, Ayesha Zafar1, Imran Shehzad1 and Aneela Riaz4

1Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha, Pakistan; 2Institute of Soil Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, AARI, Faisalabad, Pakistan; 3Institute of Soil Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, Kala Shah Kaku, Pakistan; 4Soil Bacteriology Section, AARI, Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Abstract | Pakistani soils are deficient in organic matter. Organic matter in the soil affects soil properties and processes. The adequate carbon level of the soil is 1.29 % but in Pakistani soils carbon is less than the adequate level because of high temperature and low rainfall. Different sources of organic matters such as farm yard manure, poultry waste, rice husk etc. can increase productiveness of soil. Combined usage of poultry waste material and chemical fertilizer improved maize growth and health of soil. This experiment comprised of 11 treatments applied under completely randomized design like, T1 = chemical fertilizers at recommended rate, T2 = chemical fertilizers at half recommended rate, T3 = waste of poultry at the rate of 5 ton/ha, T4 = waste of poultry at the rate of 7.5 ton/ha, T5 = waste of poultry at the rate of 10 ton/ha, T6 = T1 + T3, T7 = T1 + T4, T8 = T1 + T5, T9 = T2 + T3, T10 = T2 + T4 and T11 = T2 + T5. At maturity and different agronomic and yield parameters were recorded before harvesting maize plants. Laboratory analysis for collected soil samples was carried out. Data were statistically analyzed. Results indicated that treatment (T8) produce maximum plant height (115.0 cm), biomass (64.34 g) and root length (27.083 cm) of maize. Organic matter content (1.78 %), phosphorus (16.67 ppm) and potassium (213.0 ppm) concentration in soil was also increased in this treatment.

Received | March 14, 2021; Accepted | March 28, 2021; Published | June 20, 2021

*Correspondence | Ghulam Sarwar, Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha, Pakistan; Email:

Citation | Fiyyaz, M., G. Sarwar, N.U. Sabah, M.A. Tahir, M. Aftab, M.Z. Manzoor, S. Hussain, A. Zafar, I. Shehzad and A. Riaz. 2021. Integration of mineral fertilizer and poultry manure for improving soil health and maize growth under calcareous soil environment. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Research, 34(3): 495-500.


Keywords | Maize, Poultry manure, Mineral fertilizer, Yield parameters, Soil health parameters


In Pakistan, maize is the most significant crop next rice and wheat. Maize is called “king of grain crops”. Its average production is 3428 kg ha-1 (Anonymous, 2008). Along with grains it is also grown for fodder (Khaliq et al., 2004). In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) it is cultivated in 55.01 % of the total area with 63.01 % of yield production whereas in Punjab30-35% yield is achieved from 38% of the total area. In Sindh and Baluchistan, it is produced with 3% and 5% yield of the total cultivated area (GOP, 2015). Maize production in 2010 in Pakistan was 36581000 tons from 9 lac 81 thousand ha. Maize grains are the source of minerals, vitamins and ashes. It contains fats (5.8%), proteins (10%), starch (72%), sugar (3%) and burning ash (1.7%). It is used for the production of cosmetics, flakes, syrup, alcohol, starch and fats. The origin of maize plant is exotic South USA (Chaudhary et al., 2014). Pakistani soils are degraded day by day due to inadequate management and fertilizer application. These soils are deficient in organic matter due to aridity factor of area. Mostly Pakistani soils have less than 1% organic matter. Imbalanced fertilizers application adversely affects plant growth and efficiency. Plant response to applied fertilizer depends on nutrient status of the soil. Fertilizer imbalance is associated with a number of factors like unavailability at proper time and higher charge. Improper fertilizer application also pollute atmosphere (Oad et al., 2004; Prabhu et al., 2003). Organic manure enhances soil fertility and increase plant growth as a supplement of manures due to provision of various nutrient and chelating effect on cations by normal acids (Mohanty et al., 2006). They improve the nutrient position of the soil that led to increase availability of nutrients in soil. People prefer goods obtained by organic farming because of their purity, uncontaminated and less adversely affective to health (Gorttappech et al., 2000).

Addition of various organic amendments improved the maximum height of rice-wheat. The use of compost proved to be superior to that of Sesbania and Farm Yard Manure (FYM) green manure. This tendency to increase the height of the plant increased when the chemical fertilizer was combined with these organic materials. The combination of fertilizers and compost at the highest rate (10 ton/ha) was the most successful treatment (Sarwar, 2005). Similarly, combining both amounts of compost + chemical fertilizers caused maximum agglomeration in rice-wheat plants compared to FYM and Sesbania. Using FYM proved to be superior to control and led to a substantial rise in the number of rice-wheat crops growers. A comparison of compost and fertilizer proved the superiority of compost over chemical fertilizer in this regard, but combination of these proved to be more successful than using compost alone (Sarwar et al., 2007).

Combined usage of carbon-based manures like waste cow dung, poultry manure, residues of harvested crops and green manure crops with mineral fertilizer is the best way to manage nutrients in soil (Antil, 2012). This also improves soil fertility, conserve soil and reduce environmental pollution. Considerable usage of different nutritional sources proved important for increasing demand of crop production and sustainable agriculture (Korsaeth et al., 2002). An increase in rice and wheat production was achieved when mineral fertilizers was coupled with different sources of organic materials (Sarwar et al., 2020).

Materials and Methods

A research trail was conducted in pots to determine combined outcome of mineral fertilizer and poultry manure on fertility status of soil after growing maize. Samples of soil were taken for determination of various laboratory parameters before starting experiment (Table 1). After analysis, pots were filled with ten (10) kg soil and irrigated by ground water. Completely randomized design was applied to arrange the pots. Current experiment included 11 treatments and 3 replications.


T1= Chemical fertilizers at recommended rate; T2= Chemical fertilizers at half recommended rate; T3= Waste of poultry at the rate of 5 ton/ha; T4= Waste of poultry at the rate of 7.5 ton/ha; T5= Waste of poultry at the rate of 10 ton/ha; T6= T1 + T3; T7= T1 + T4; T8= T1 + T5; T9= T2 + T3; T10= T2 + T4; T11= T2 + T5.

Maize variety (FM3) taken from Ayyub research institute was used as test crop. Poultry manure was applied according to treatments. Initially five seeds were sown per pot and after germination three plants were maintained. Crop was harvested at maturity. Post soil analysis was done by collecting samples from each pot. Urea, SSP and potassium sulfate were applied as sources for NPK. Recommended rate of NPK used in this study was N = 225, P2O5 = 100 and K2O = 100 kg ha-1, respectively.

Analytical methods for soil analysis

Analytical methods for laboratory determinations were used as given in Hand Book No. 60 of USDA (1969).

Soil organic matter

For organic matter determination Method 24 was used.

Available phosphorus

It was determined by Olsen’s method (Tandon, 2011).

Soluble potassium

Soluble potassium was determined by (Method 11a).

Statistical analysis

Statistics 8.1 software was used for the statistical analysis. ANOVA was made for different parameters (Steel et al., 1997).


Table 1: Soil Characteristics used in experiment.




Saturation percentage






dS m-1



me L-1



me L-1



me L-1



me L-1


Ca + Mg

me L-1



me L-1














Textural class


Sandy clay loam


Results and Discussion

Plant height of maize

Height of plants is the most important parameter that reflects crop productivity. All the treatments significantly affected this parameter of plant height (Figure 1). Extreme height of plants (115 cm) was observed in treatment T8 (T1+ T5). It significantly differed from T7 (111.7cm) and T11 (107.9 cm). Inferior results were obtained in T3 (waste of poultry at the rate of 5 ton/ha) when linked by all other treatments. Kibria et al. (2013) observed that joined usage of poultry manure waste plus chemical fertilizer not only increased yield but also plant growth. The integration of poultry manure with inorganic source also improves the availability of nutrient to maize and its use efficiency (Ayeni and Adetunji, 2010).

Total biomass of maize plants

Biomass is vital parameter for fodder crops that indicate yield of crops. Total biomass of the maize crop was greatly affected by usage of poultry waste alone and in mixture with chemical fertilizers. Statistically all treatments showed significant difference on total biomass of maize crop (Figure 2). The treatment T3 remained inferior when compared with T2 in terms of statistics. Maximum biomass of maize (64.34 g) was produced by T8 (T1 + T5). Treatments T7 (58.67 g) and T6 (55.67 g) followed the treatment T8. Variances amongst these 03 treatments were non-significant statistically. Collective usage of poultry waste and mineral fertilizers improved maize growth and yield (Khaliq et al., 2004). Similarly, Boateng et al. (2006) observed an increase in maize biomass by addition of organic source like manure of poultry waste material.



Maize root length

Plant roots are the most important part on which growth of plants depends. Poultry manure and inorganic fertilizer application to maize plant affected root length of maize plants (Figure 3). Maximum root length measured in treatment T8 (T1 + T5) was 27.08 cm. The treatments T7 (24.58 cm) and T11 (22.25 cm) followed the T8. The minimum root length (11.66 cm) was noted in treatment T3. The treatments T2 (12.5 cm) and T4 (13.75 cm) remained at par statistically. These outcomes were in accordance of the findings of Shah et al. (2007). They determined improved root length in maize when fertilized with poultry manure and inorganic nitrogen fertilizer.

Organic matter in soil

Organic matter has a significant part in soil fertility. Carbon-based manures are nutritious supplement used to increase soil organic matter. Almost all soil properties depend on organic content present in soil. Soil fertility was significantly exaggerated by the incorporation of carbon-based manures (Figure 4). The treatment T2 remained most inferior where just organic form of nutrients was added. Maximum organic matter content was observed in treatment T8 (0.72%). Treatment T8 significantly differs from T7 when compared in terms of statistics. The treatment T1 with a value of 1.78 % organic matter was next to T2.



Sarwar et al. (2008) revealed that incorporation of carbon-based manure with mineral fertilizers was a good technique to enhance fertility of soil. When carbon-based manure is used with mineral fertilizers, it enhanced its efficiency and productivity in sustainable agriculture. Addition of poultry manure increased nitrogen content in the soil. This content can be further increased by using chemical fertilizer along with poultry dung. Development, quality and produce of maize crop can be increased by using organic and inorganic sources of fertilizers (Boateng et al., 2006).

Phosphorus in soil

Phosphorus is 2nd maximum plentiful element on earth surface. Its availability is highly dependent on soil pH and calcareousness. It is an important element required for plants growing. Phosphorus has a constitutional character in ATP molecules besides nucleic acid. It enhances crop maturity. Poultry manure is not only a good source of phosphorus but also increase availability of phosphorus in the soil. All the treatments significantly affect the phosphorus content of the soil (Figure 5). Extreme P concentration was noted in treatment T8 (chemical fertilizers at recommended rate + waste of poultry at the rate of 10 ton/ha). Phosphorus concentration in T1 and T2 treatment was recorded as 8 and 5 ppm respectively. Minimum value of soil phosphorus was determined in T2 where ½ of recommended dose of chemical fertilizer was used. All other treatments significantly differ from each other. These discoveries were in line with conclusions of Friend et al. (2006). Similarly, McGrath et al. (2009) also noted that all types of soil properties (physical, chemical and biological) were upgraded by usage of poultry dung.



Potassium in soil

Potassium stands as an enzyme activator and third most abundant element. Soil potassium in experiment is significantly affected by all the treatments. Highest value of soil potassium was recorded in treatment T8 (T1 + T5) with a value of 213 ppm (Figure 6). Whereas, minimum concentration was observed in treatment T2 (half recommended NPK) with a value of 119 ppm. Treatment T1 was next to T2 with value of 145ppm. Both these treatments were significantly different. Likewise, T3 (waste of poultry at the rate of 5 ton/ha) and T4 (waste of poultry at the rate of 7.5 ton/ha) remained statistically significant. These results are supported by the observations of Guo and Song (2009). They observed an improvement in nutrient status of soil with the use of poultry dung.

Conclusions and Recommendations

It was concluded from current experiment that combined/integrated used of mineral fertilizers coupled with poultry dung at the rate of 10 ton/ha remained most superior treatments to all others for boosting of maize yield and maintenance of soil fertility (organic matter, phosphorus and potassium status). Hence, it is recommended to farmers that they should integrate poultry dung or waste material with chemical fertilizers to boost up crop yield and maintenance of soil health.

Novelty Statement

Usage of poultry dung improve maize yield and maintains soil health.

Author’s Contribution

Muhammad Fiyyaz: Conception and design of the work and conduction of experiment.

Ghulam Sarwar: Academic supervisor.

Noor-us-Sabah: Drafting and technical assistance.

Mukkram Ali Tahir: Co-supervision and technical assistance at every step.

Muhammad Aftab and Sarfraz Hussain: Interpretation of data and excel work for graphs making.

Muhammad Zeeshan Manzoor and Ayesha Zafar: Helped in lab. work and write up.

Imran Shehzad and Aneela Riaz: Statistical analysis and Proof reading and final editing.

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared no conflict of interest.


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