Assessment of the Impact of Compost and Hydrogel as Soil Moisture Retainers on the Growth and Development of Forage Maize (Zea mays L.)
Yáñez-Chávez, L.G.; Pedroza-Sandoval, A.; Sánchez-Cohen, I.; Samaniego-Gaxiola, J.A.

The availability of water is one of the most critical factors for food production in arid lands. The aim of this study was to determine the efficiency of compost and hydrogel in holding soil moisture and to monitor their effects on the growth and development of forage maize. This study was conducted in the experimental area of Chapingo University North Campus at Bermejillo, Durango, Mexico. The experiment was arranged in split plots within randomized blocks with three replications. The doses of hydrogel (0, 12.5 and 25 kg ha-1) were the main plots, and the compost doses (0 and 20 ton ha-1) were the subplots. Hydrogel doses of 12.5 and 25 kg ha-1 significantly increased (P= 0.05) plant height and stem thickness and flag leaf length and width, mainly 74 days after planting. These responses followsa higher moisture content, measured at three depths (15, 30 and 60 cm), in the hydrogel-treated soil than in the untreated control. Additionally, the root volume was significantly larger when the hydrogel was applied at any of the doses tested in this study. The growth and development of the plants were not affected by the compost application.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jaes.v3n4a7