Synergistic effects of biochar and poultry manure on soil and cucumber (Cucumis sativus) performance: A case study from the southeastern Nigeria
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Department of Soil Science, University of Calabar, Nigeria
Faculty of Agriculture/Plant, Food and Environmental Sciences, Dalhousie University, Canada
Umgeni Water, Scientific Services, Laboratories, Chemical Sciences, South Africa
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR), University of Missouri, Columbia, United States
School of Chemistry and Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Submission date: 2023-11-03
Final revision date: 2024-01-08
Acceptance date: 2024-02-09
Online publication date: 2024-02-09
Publication date: 2024-02-09
Corresponding author
Esther Okon Ayito   

Department of Soil Science, University of Calabar, Nigeria
Soil Sci. Ann., 2023, 74(4)183903
This study explores the suitability of different biomass feedstocks for biochar production and their effects on soil health and crop yield. Two planting seasons were conducted, involving cucumber as the test crop and eleven treatments combining biochar and poultry manure. Soil analysis revealed initial soil conditions with high sand content and low pH. Poultry manure and biochar exhibited pH, organic carbon, and nutrient level variations. Significant differences in cucumber growth and yield were observed, with the longest vine length in plots treated with palm kernel husk biochar and poultry manure. Residual effects in the second planting season displayed similar trends. Soil pH, organic carbon, and total nitrogen remained consistent between seasons, while available phosphorus increased significantly in plots amended with goat manure biochar and poultry manure. Calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium contents also varied. Fruit length, weight, and yield were significantly improved by biochar treatments, with the combination of palm kernel husk biochar and poultry manure yielding the highest fruit weight. Correlation and structural equation analyses (p < 0.05) highlighted the relationships between plant characteristics, soil properties, and fruit indices, emphasizing the importance of nitrogen and phosphorus in supporting fruit development. The study suggests that biochar application enhances soil nutrients, crop growth, and fruit yields while reducing reliance on chemical fertilizers. It recommends considering biochar for land reclamation and as an alternative to traditional fertilizers, supported by appropriate regulations.
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