Effects of nutrient source on the performance of mustard rape (Brassicae juncea L.)
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The experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of nutrient source on the performance of mustard rape (Brassicae juncea L.). It was to determine the effects of inorganic fertilizers [Compound D(7%N: 14%P2O5: 7% K2O) and ammonium nitrate (34,5%N)] and cattle manure on leaf area (cm2) per plant, height (cm) and crop growth rate (cm/day) of mustard rape. The study was carried out at Sawirangwanda Secondary School garden in Gokwe North District, Midlands Province during the 2016/17 rainy season. The experiment was organized as a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with 3 blocks. Treatment 1 was supplied with inorganic fertilizers (Compound D at a rate of 5g/plant=666kg/ha and ammonium nitrate at a rate of 2,5g/ plant=333kg/ha) , treatment 2 was supplied with cattle manure at a rate of 250g/plant=33 333kg/ha and treatment 3 (control) had no fertilizer applied.First measurements were taken at 13 days after transplanting(DAT) and final measurements taken at 48 DAT. Data was analysed using Minitab statistical package. Results obtained revealed that cattle manure significantly (P<0.05) affected the leaf area per plant, plant height and growth rate of mustard rape. The final leaf area (cm2) per plant for inorganic fertilizer treatment, cattle manure treatment and control was 213.87cm2, 4004.8cm2 and 157.97cm2 respectively. The final plant height (cm) was 33.97cm, 23.67cm and 16.5cm for inorganic fertilizer treatment, cattle manure treatment and zero fertilizer treatment respectively. The final growth rate (cm/day) in organic fertilizer treatment, cattle manure treatment and zero fertilizer treatment was 0,28cm/day, 0.48cm/day and 0,03cm/day respectively. Therefore smallholder farmers can substitute inorganic fertilizers with cattle manure in mustard rape if they require to get high leaf area per plant, greater plant height and high growth rate. This is because manure is easily accessible and the farmers can save on production costs.