Young coffee plants at nursery particularly after transplanting are very sensitive to weed infestation. Therefore, timely weeding is necessary to boost seedling vegetative growth. A pot experiment was conducted from 2017-18 at IRAD, Foumbot multipurpose research station, Cameroon. The main objective was to assess the influence of biochar and poultry manure on weed infestation and growth of arabica coffee seedlings. The biochar was produced using an Elsa pyrolysis barrel at 450 0C with 58 min carbonisation time from corncobs. The biochar were milled to < 2mm and mixed at the rate of 20, 30 and 40t/ha-1 with 40t/ha-1 poultry manure and soil before applying to 0.01 m2 polythene bags with five replications. Results showed that the 20t/ha-1 biochar + 40t/ha-1 poultry manure treatment significantly (P < 0.05) increased plant height, stem girth, number of leaves, and leaf area compared to control (poultry manure only). Treatments with 30t/ha-1 and 40t/ha-1 biochar had the lowest weed fresh weight and dry weight. Cyperus rotundus, Oxalis cornoculata and Cynodon nlemfuensis were most economically important weeds scored for their abundance and persistence. Overall, weed control efficiency was lowest in sole 40t/ha-1 poultry manure and 20t/ha-1 biochar treatment with 18% and 20% compared to 40t/ha-1 and 30t/ha-1 biochar treatment with 35% and 24% respectively. The results demonstrated that combined application of poultry manure and biochar appears essential for a sustainable coffee seedling production in the Western Highlands of Cameroon. However, to enhance coffee seedling growth using biochar, the use of recommended doses is paramount.
This study contributes to existing literature that biochar; a product of pyrolysis contains some important plant nutrients and properties which can significantly affect soil fertility and crop growth. It further seeks to assess how the growth of arabica coffee seedlings is affected by different types of organic fertilizers.
Coffea Arabica, Corncobs, Cyperus rotundus, Pot experiment, Waste, Nitrogen, Cameroon.
This study received no specific financial support.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
All authors contributed equally to the conception and design of the study as well as reading the draft of the manuscript. The authors appreciate the institutional support from the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation (MINRESI) and the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD).