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Effect of Different Methods of Zinc Application on Yield and Quality of Rabi Maize in West Tripura

Saurav Das, Goutam Kumar Ghosh and Debashish Sen

  • Page No:  245 - 249
  • Published online: 31 Aug 2022
  • DOI: HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.23910/2/2022.IJEP0482

  • Abstract
  •  sauravdas83@rediffmail.com

The present study was conducted at Experimental Farm, College of Agriculture, Tripura with an aim to find out the effect of different methods of Zn application on maize crop during rabi season of 2018−19 (November−February). The experiment was laid out in Randomized block design (RBD) and replicated three times. In this experiment, zinc was applied by three methods- soil, foliar and their combinations. Zinc was applied @ 10, 20 and 30 kg ha-1 in soil during sowing, while foliar application @ 1% Zinc was given during silking stage. Zinc was applied in the form of Zinc Sulfate in all the treatments. Recommended dose of fertilizer for maize crop @ 150:70:70 kg N, P2O5 and K2O ha-1 were applied according to the treatment details. The application of zinc via soil and foliar @ 30 kg ha-1 and 1% ZnSO4 recorded higher yield parameters such as number of cobs plant-1, weight of cobs plant-1, number of grains cob-1, total weight of grains plant-1 and average 1000 grains weight etc. The increasing Zn rates also enhanced grain yield ha-1, grain harvest index and zinc uptake in plant and maize grains in significant manner.

Keywords :   Foliar, maize, rabi, soil, west tripura, zinc

  • Introduction

    Maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the most adaptable emerging crops having wider adaptability under varied agro-climatic conditions. Globally, maize is known as queen of cereals having highest genetic yield potential among the cerealswith wider diversity of soil, climate, biodiversity and management practices that contributes 36 % (782 mt) in the global grain production. The United States of America (USA) is the largest producer of maize contributes nearly 35 % of the total production in the world and maize is the driver of the US economy (Mohanty and Swain, 2018). The USA has the highest productivity (>9.6 t ha-1) which is double than the global average (4.92 t ha-1). Whereas, the average productivity in India is 2.43 t ha-1. In India, maize is the third most important food crops after rice and wheat. In India, maize is cultivated in 9.09 mha with a production of 23.29 mt and productivity of 2563 kg ha-1 (Anonymous, 2014). In addition to staple food for human being and quality feed for animals, maize serves as a basic raw material as acomponent to thousands of industrial products that includes starch, oil, protein, alcoholic beverages, food sweeteners, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, film, textile, gum, package and paper industries etc. As a common staple food, fuel, and feed, maize (Zea mays L.) yields have continued to increase (Duvick, 2005; Nuss and Tanumihardjo, 2010).

    Among the micronutrients, zinc is most crucial amongst the micronutrients that play a part in maize which is highly responsive to Zn fertilization (Benton Jones, 2003). Deficiency of Zn in soil causes deficiency in crops and on the whole, this has become problem all over the world with acute zinc deficit ranges in arid to semi-arid regions of the world (Rashid and Ryan, 2004). Many studies have confirmed that the maize grain yield increases significantly with the application of Zn fertilizer to Zn-deficient soils (Potarzycki, 2010; Liu et al., 2017). Moreover, Zn input has much less attention than Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), or irrigation during the green revolution (Tilman et al., 2002; Mueller et al., 2012).

    Zn plays a vital role in plants essential system such as it plays roles in nitrogen metabolism and results in improving protein quality, it also plays a most important role in protein synthesis and photosynthesis (Cakmak, 2008). Sadeghzadeh (2013) stated that zinc is essential for the normal, healthy growth and reproduction of plants. Furthermore, Zn is also responsible in formation of chlorophyll and also make the most of the biosynthesis of carotenoids, chlorophyll and eventually helpful for the photosynthetic mechanism of the plant (Aravind and Prasad, 2003). Zn is required as a structural component of a large number of proteins, such as transcription factors and metalloenzymes (Figueiredo et al., 2012).

    Various technique of Zn application to crops such as soil, foliar sprays and seed treated with Zn dusting, fertigation seed priming in nutrient solution and root dipping in the nutrient solution etc are most common. Amongst these methods, foliar spray of Zn is the most efficient method. Wilhelm et al. (1988) and Savithri et al. (1999) reported that foliar application is a simple method for rapid development of plant nutritional status of maize. Deficiency of Zn has been reported from various parts of the world, Indian soils are not exception to this. Almost 50% soil of the world which are used for cereal production are Zn deficient. Zn deficiency is the most widespread micronutrient deficiency in the world (Fageria,2002).

    Bashir et al. (2012) reported that the foliar application of zinc resulted in maximum plant height of maize. Both the soil and foliar application enhanced Zn concentration and uptake in crop grain (Yilmaz et al., 1998). Denre et al. (2017) stated that application of Zinc fertilizer enhanced Zn contents and uptake in rice plant at maturity. Malakouti (2008) reported that quality and yield of crops is improved by soil and or foliar application of micronutrients.

    In Tripura, zinc content of soils is moderately low in content with pH value ranging from 4.05−6.05 and in more than 90 % of the soil of Tripura, pH is below 5.6. Maize is the third most grown crops in the state of Tripura. Keeping this point in view, present investigation was conducted to find out best combination of organic and inorganic fertilizers along with zinc for maximum production of maize with higher income level in sustainable manner without affecting the soil qualities.

  • Materials and Methods

    The present work was conducted at Experimental Farm, College of Agriculture, Tripura, India in order to find out the effect of different methods of Zn application on maize crop during rabi season of 2018−19 (November−February). It is located at 23.54°N latitude, 91.19°E longitude and an altitude of 35 m above mean sea level. The experiment was carried out in RBD design with three replications. The plot size was 5×4 m, plant to plant distance was 20 cm and row to row distance was 60 cm. Maize seeds were sown with the help of drill. In the experiment, Zn application was done by three methods i.e., soil application, foliar application and their combination. Zn in the form of zinc sulfate was used in all the treatments, while recommended dose of fertilizer for maize crop (150:70:70 kg N, P2O5, K2O ha-1) were applied according to the treatment details. Nitrogen in the form of urea, phosphorus in the form of single super phosphate (SSP), potassium in the form of muriate of potash (MOP) were applied. N was applied in four equal splits. Irrigation was regularly given and all the cultural practices including weeding, thinning and hoeing were performed.

    2.1.  Yield and yield parameters

    For post-harvest studies, five randomly selected plants from each plot were harvested separately and then averaged from yield parameters such as number of cobs plant-1, number of grains cob-1, weight of grains cob-1, 1000-grain weight. Grain yield net plot-1 were recorded and then calculated for ha.

    2.2.  Quality parameters

    2.2.1.  Plant analysis

    Treatment wise plant samples were collected at maturity for chemical estimation. The leaves, stems and grains were dried in an oven and then ground thoroughly in a willey mill to pass through a 30-mesh sieve. These were preserved in sealed and labeled containers for chemical analysis. Zinc in maize was determined in digested sample using atomic absorption spectrophotometer (Perkin Elmer, 2380).

    2.2.2.  Statistical analysis

    The data was statistically analyzed using analysis of variance appropriate for RBD design and the means was compared using LSD test at 0.05 significance level of probability (Steel and Torrie, 1984).

  • Results and Discussion

    Before conducting experiment, different soil physico-chemical characteristics were determined. For this purpose, soil samples from the depth of 0−15 and 15−30 cm were randomly collected from the field (Table 2).

    3.1.  Biometric observations

    3.1.1.  Yield parameters  Number of cobs plant-1

    The data regarding effect of sources and methods of zinc application on number of cobs plant-1 in maize is presented in Table 3. Data showed that number of cobs plant-1 were significantly affected by Zn application. The highest being the treatment T8 which received Zn @ 30 kg ha-1+Foliar spray @ 1% ZnSO4.7 H2O. This could be due to application of zinc both in soil and foliar spray. The number of grains cob-1 in all the treatments were increased by Zn application in the form of ZnSO4 (Singh et al., 2021).  Weight of cobs plant-1 (g)

    Table 3 shows that weight of grains cob-1 (g) was significantly affected with application of different levels of zinc. Among different levels of treatment, application of NPK+Zn as ZnSO4.7 H2O @ 30 kg ha-1 as soil application+Foliar spray @ 1% ZnSO4.7 H2O+ FYM @10 t ha-1 resulted in higher weight of cobs (238.85 g).  Number of grains cob-1

    The number of grains cob-1 varied in the order of T8>T5>T6>T7>T1>T4>T2>T3>T9, while the number of grains cob-1 ranged from 295.64−428.14. Zn applied by soil & foliar spray yielded maximum number of grains. The number of grains cob-1 in all the treatments were increased by Zn application in the form of ZnSO4 (Singh et al., 2021). The number of grains cob-1 is considered as a most sensitive element of maize yield to environmental influences.  Total weight of grains plant-1 (g)

    Data regarding total weight of grains is presented in Table 3. The results exhibited that total weight of grains was significantly affected by Zn application. Highest value of thousand grains weight was noted in treatment which received Zn in soil & foliar application (1% ZnSO4), while lowest value was recorded from control. The maximum thousand grain weight found was due to increase in Zn fertilizer because Zn stimulates metabolic processes in seed (Sharma et al., 2013).  Average 1000-grains weight

    The results for number of grains ear-1 are shown in Table 3. The findings showed that average 1000 grains weight was not significantly affected by Zn application. The maximum 1000 grains weight was obtained from treatment interactions (soil+foliar), whereas minimum 1000 grains weight was found in control. Similar results were obtained by Liu et al. (2020), where zinc sulphate increased the 1000-grain weight.  Average grain yield ha-1(t)

    Application of different levels & methods of zinc had a significant effect on average grain yields ha-1 (t) (Figure 1). The increase in grain yield ha-1 was probably due to a greater number of grains cob-1, number of cobs plant-1, more 1000 grains weight etc. Arya and Singh (2001) reported that the grain yield, stover yield, plant height, leaf area index and dry matter accumulation were highest with the application of 30 kg ZnS04 ha-1.  Harvest index in maize

    It is observed from the data (Figure 2) that zinc level significantly influenced the harvest index during both the years. The harvest index (%) varied from 31.45−45.52. The highest value of harvest index (55.52%) was recorded when crop fertilized with ZnSO4.7 H2O @ 30 kg ha-1. Arya and Singh (2000) found that Zn at 30 kg ha-1 recorded significantly higher harvest index compared with their lower doses.

    3.1.2.  Quality parameters  Zinc concentration (mg kg-1) in maize grains

    The results (Figure 3) revealed that the highest value of uptake of Zn by maize grain was recorded to be 25.82 mg kg-1 in the treatment T8 whereas, the lowest value of uptake of Zn by rice grain of 21.56 mg kg-1 was recorded in the treatment T9 where NPK was applied as recommended but no zinc doses were applied. The results of the present study are also confirmed by the findings of Karak et al. (2006) who showed that a significant positive correlation with Zn uptake by grain and the amount of Zn applied.  Zinc content in maize plant

    The results (Figure 4) revealed that the highest value of uptake of Zn in maize plant was recorded to be 93.54 mg kg-1 in the treatment T8 at maturity stage of crop growth whereas, the lowest value of uptake of Zn 70.75 mg kg-1 was recorded in the treatment T9 where NPK was applied as recommended but no zinc doses were applied. This could be due to the application of Zinc through soil and foliar application in T8.

  • Conclusion

    Application of higher level of nitrogen and zinc gradually increased yield attributes and quality of maize. The combined application of NPK & Zn as ZnSO4.7 H2O @ 30 kg ha-1 as soil application+Foliar spray @ 1% ZnSO4.7 H2O+FYM @ 10 t ha-1 is much better than their alone application. Hence Zn application by soil and foliar method not only significant for vegetative growth but also increases grain value for human needs.

  • Acknowledgement

    The authors wish to thanks College of Agriculture, Tripura for providing lab facility and special thanks to his supervisor & co-supervisor for support and encouragement.


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Das S, Ghosh GK, Sen D. Effect of Different Methods of Zinc Application on Yield and Quality of Rabi Maize in West Tripura IJEP [Internet]. 31Aug.2022[cited 8Feb.2022];9(1):245-249. Available from: http://www.pphouse.org/ijep-article-details.php?art=345

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