Effects of Neem Seed Cake and NPK Fertilizer on the Growth and Yield of Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.)

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Soils of the southern Guinea savannah zone of Nigeria are low in organic matter content, inherently infertile due to intensive weathering and leaching caused by high temperature and rainfall. A field experiment was conducted at the Teaching and Research Farm of the University of Ilorin, during the 2013 and 2014 cropping seasons, to determine the effect of neem seed cake and NPK fertilizer on the performance of sesame crop (Ex Sudan cv). Treatments consisted of three levels of NPK fertilizer 20:10:10, applied at 0, 100 and 200 kg ha−1 and neem seed cake (NSC), applied at 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 t ha−1. The experiment was laid out in a 3 x 5 factorial arrangement replicated thrice. Data were collected on soil parameters (some physical and chemical properties), plant growth parameters (plant height, number of leaves and leaf area) and yield components (number of capsules per plant, weight of seeds per plant and weight of seeds per hectare). The result of the study indicated that using the highest level of application of NPK fertilizer, neem seed cake and their combinations significantly (p<0.05) increased the growth of sesame plants, in the 2 years of study. However, the 100 kg ha−1 of NPK and 3 tha−1 and their combinations gave the highest yield and yield components of sesame during the period of study. The result of the study revealed that using high levels of NPK, neem seed cake and their combinations favoured vegetative growth at the expense of seed formation. Farmers are therefore encouraged to use organic and inorganic fertilizer moderately to prevent excessive vegetative growth of sesame.

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