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Volume 6, Issue 1, February Issue - 2018, Pages:159-167

Authors: AL-Kahtani SH, Ahmed MA*, Al-Selwey WA, Abdel-Razzak HS
Abstract: The effects of different agricultural crop waste composts as organic fertilizer on the growth, leaf chlorophyll content and mineral concentrations, fruit characteristics, yield, and fruit quality aspects of tomato were assessed. The composted crop waste types used were mixture of date palm, olive, and maize (1:1:1) supplemented with 5% (C2), 10% (C3), 20% (C4), and 40% (C5) of sheep manure as well as the active NPK mineral fertilizer (C1) as a check treatment. Results of present study revealed that tomato plants grown in sandy soil amended by combination of compost mixture and  40% sheep manure (C5) have highest plant height and leaf chlorophyll content as compared to the plants grown in other combinations. Further highest concentration of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), Ferrous (Fe), Zink (Zn) and manganese (Mn) along with fruit yield, and fruit quality were also reported superior in the plant grown in same combination.  The percentage increase in the total yield of plants fertilized with C5 was 65.71-65.83% higher than that of plants fertilized with the compost + NPK (C1). Tomato plants grown in plots amended with compost type C5 had highest shoot dry mass, fruit length, fruit diameter, and fruit juice percentage than plants grown in other treatments. On the other hand, tomato plants under C1 treatment had higher titratable acidity and pH of fruit juice as compared to plants grown under other compost types. These results indicate that amending sandy soil with compost (date palm, olive, and maize) enriched with higher rates of sheep manure (20% and 40%) can increase growth, fruit weight, fruit volume, and yield besides improving the fruit quality characteristics of tomato.
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Full Text:   1 Introduction Use of organic farming systems to produce vegetable crops has become more attractive during recent years because of either increased consumer demand for organically produced products or the interest of farmers to sustain or maintain soil health (Dimitri & Greene, 2002; Murmu et al., 2013). Furthermore, higher prices of organically produced vegetable products than conventional products in the fresh markets encourage farmers to grow vegetables organically. Moreover, the organically grown products are safer to eat and are more nutritious than products grown conventionally (Ramesh et al., 2005; Lester, 2006). Organic amendments are most common in vegetable crop fields through the application of composted materials or recycled crop wastes (Murmu et al., 2013; Ahirwar & Hussain, 2015). The use of recycled crop waste as organic fertilizer or soil amendment material not only provides an economic advantage to small-scale farmers, but also reduces soil pollution due to reduced use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, nutrient run-off, and nitrogen (N) leaching (Nyamangara et al., 2003; Liu et al. 2013; Abafita et al., 2014). Many of agricultural areas in Saudi Arabia generate large quantities of organic residues such as date palm, olive, and maize wastes, as well as fruit and vegetable processing remains. Recycling of these organic agricultural wastes has great potential to serve as sources of mulch, nutrients and organic material to enhance agricultural production and sustainability (Alburquerque et al., 2006; Altieri & Esposito, 2008; Rigane &Medhioub, 2011; Killi & Kavdir, 2013). Thus, Application of these composted materials to soil not only enhances soil organic matter and soil fertility levels but also increases microbial activity (Zayed & Abdel-Motaalet, 2005; Benito et al., 2006; Liu et al., 2013; Khan et al., 2017). Improved soil fertility and microbial activity as a result of returned such crop wastes as compost improves the condition of agricultural soil and increases root vigor and other physiological characteristics of plants such as photosynthetic rate and chlorophyll and carbohydrate content (Joshi et al., 2009; Yogev et al., 2009). On the other hand, the use of organic fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers were found more valuable for maximizing yield and providing macronutrients in tomato (Khan et al., 2017). Khan et al. (2017) reported that single source of nutrients like mineral fertilizers, composts or animal manures cannot meet the nutrient demands of the crops for sustainable production; therefore, a proper ratio of organic and inorganic fertilizers is important for higher crop production. Many investigations indicated that composted crop wastes show beneficial effects on plant growth, yield and quality of tomato (Pane et al., 2015; Khan et al., 2017; Wang et al., 2017). However, there have been little experimental studies exploring influences of composted crop wastes in combination with either mineral fertilizers or manures on tomato. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to assess the influence of application of crop waste compost consisting of date palm, olive and maize wastes amended with different rates of sheep manure and NPK fertilizer on the growth, chlorophyll and mineral concentrations, yield and its components, and fruit quality of tomato under field conditions. 2 Materials and Methods 2.1 Experimental Setup Two field experiments were conducted at El-Watania Farm located in El-Jouf region, Saudi Arabia during two successive growing seasons of 2013 and 2014. The treatment plan comprised five mixtures of composted agricultural crop wastes enriched with NPK mineral actives and different rates of sheep manure as follows: C1 = (1 date palm : 1 olive :1 maize) waste + mineral actives (mixed NPK) , this treatment considered as a control. C2 = (1 date palm : 1 olive :1 maize) waste + 5% sheep manure C3 = (1 date palm : 1 olive :1 maize) waste + 10% sheep manure C4 = (1 date palm : 1 olive :1 maize) waste + 20% sheep manure C5 = (1 date palm : 1 olive :1 maize) waste + 40% sheep manure   The mineral actives consisted of a mineral fertilizer mixture of 20 kg N as ammonium sulfate + 7 kg P2O5 as super phosphate + 1.25 kg K2O as potassium sulfate, added to a ton of agricultural crop wastes (crushed date palm + crushed olive trees + crushed maize plants, at a ratio of 1:1:1) (AL-Kahtani & Ahmed, 2012). Before starting the experiment, mechanical and chemical analyses of both soil and different organic compost mixtures carried out by following Chapman & Pratt (1978) procedures (Table 1). Five compost materials were applied @ 30 kg for each plot (25 plants) through incorporating them into the soil three days before transplanting. Normal cultural practices such as irrigation, weeding, insect, and disease control performed appropriately.   Table 1: Chemical properties of the soil and mixtures of plant residues plus sheep manure composts  
Properties pH EC (dS m-1) OM (%) Total N (%) Total P (%) Total K (%) Fe (ppm) Mn (ppm) Zn (ppm) Co (ppm) Pb (ppm) C/N  ratio Cubic meter weight (Kg) Soil 7.98 0.540 0.965 0.07 0.116 0.087 4.88 0.47 0.62 0.13 Trace - - C1 7.52 3.48 24.78 1.60 0.518 0.322 6425 75 28 25 12 9 601 C2 7.32 3.59 22.93 1.60 0.532 0.318 7156 101 32 24 5 8 559 C3 7.31 3.61 22.13 1.84 0.525 0.337 7936 109 32 28 5 7 546 C4 7.15 3.86 24.58 1.88 0.602 0.398 8130 122 42 30 5 8  

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