Effect of Foliar Application of some Macro and Micronutrients on the Growth and Yield of Maize
Maize is the most cultivated cereal crop in Ghana and plays a significant role in consumer diets. An ideal way of improving yield is through the use of balanced macro and micronutrient doses. Fertilizers supplied through soils are subjected to leaching, fixation, surface runoff, erosion, volatilization, extremely high or low pH render nutrients unabsorbable by plants. Foliar application of fertilizer supplies nutrients directly to the stomata and cuticle of the leaves which saves time and increases yield as proposed by crop physiologist. The experiment was designed as a multi-location study comprising eight treatments. These treatments were evaluated in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with three replications. The experiment was conducted at the experimental field of University for Development Studies, Nyankpala (9° 24’ 39’’ N, 0° 59’ 2’’ W 170 m) and Kpaliga (9° 26’ 44’’ N, 0° 57’ 58’’ W 170 m) in the Northern region of Ghana. Application of nitrogen in a split form has the ability to broaden the leaf surface area to receive the foliar applied micronutrients. However, increasing nitrogen at basal application and reducing it at top dressing (NP2K treatments) stands a better chance of broadening the leaf surface area. The general progression of leaf area index could be attributed to the adequate supply of macronutrients. NP2K+[P+Zn+Fe] produced the highest grain yield. There was significant difference between foliar zinc and control (NP2K). Maize plants responded to foliar application of phosphorus, zinc and iron, but not in terms of yield differences. It will be needful to repeat this experiment since the drought affected the response of maize to foliar applied fertilizer to yield. Socio economic analysis should be done to show whether the increment in grain yield will compensate for the cost of application of foliar fertilizer.