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Formulation of biochar based fertilizer for improving maize productivity and soil fertility

Kawsar Ali, Muhammad Arif, Badshah Islam, Zafar Hayat, Asad Ali, Khalid Naveed and Farooq Shah

Incorporation of biochar to agriculture field has the potential to be a primary factor in maintaining soil fertility and productivity particularly in nitrogen and organic matter limiting environments. Clear experimental evidences to support this view, however, are still lacking. Keeping in view the significance of biochar and limited information on its role in crop production, the current experiments were designed to evaluate the potential use of biochar in crop production for 2 years. The experiment consisted of three factors namely: (1) Biochar (0, 25 and 50 ton ha-1), (2) FYM (5 and 10 ton ha-1) and (3) nitrogen (75 and 150 kg ha-1). A control treatment (all at nil level) was included in the experiment for comparison. All the treatments were replicated three time in RCB design at New Developmental Farm of the University of Agriculture Peshawar Pakistan. As per expectation inorganic N and FYM application increased maize yield in comparison to control. Furthermore, BC treatments increased maize grain ear-1 and grain yield by 21 and 11% over no BC treatments (where FYM and N was applied but no biochar) while caused 29 and 35% in comparison to control respectively. Similarly, maize biological yield was increased by 14 and 39% over no BC and control treatments respectively. Beside crop yield, soil properties like carbon content, N status, Phosphorus, crop N uptake and crop P uptake was significantly increased by BC treatment over no BC treatment.  Overall, application of BC showed convincing results as compared to sole application of N and FYM, however, problems associated with BC production in Pakistan are needed to be addressed in future research

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