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Effects of Tithonia diversifolia, farmyard manure and urea, and phosphate fertiliser application methods on maize yields in western Kenya
Maize production in western Kenya is often limited by deficiencies of nitrogen and phosphorus. We assessed the effectiveness of Tithonia diversifolia green manure (tithonia), farmyard manure (FYM) and urea as sources of nitrogen (N) for maize when inorganic phosphorus (P) fertiliser was either broadcast (BR) or spot-placed in the planting hole (SP) for two consecutive seasons; October to December of 1998 and April to August of 1999 at two sites; Nyabeda and Khwisero in western Kenya. A randomised complete block design with four replications was used. Maize yields were higher at Nyabeda and responded to P application better than at Khwisero. At the same N rate, tithonia and FYM were as effective as urea in increasing maize yields at both sites. There were no significant differences in maize yields when phosphate fertiliser was either BR or SP regardless of the N source used in the first season. However, in the second season, the residual yields for the BR treatments were consistently higher than those of the SP. Our results suggest that tithonia and FYM can substitute for urea as N sources and that fertiliser P should be broadcast and incorporated together with the organic materials at the time of planting to save on labour costs.