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Effect o
f oil palm press biochar and or/cowdung incubation on selected soil properties and
yield of lettuce on tropical Haplic Acrisol
Author: PHARES, Christian Adler; Co
-
Author: OKAE
-
ANTI, Daniel
University of Cape Coast, School of Agriculture, Department of S
oil Science, Cape Coast,
Ghana
Abstract
Agricultural waste can be processed under pressure into a byproduct called biochar. One
common agricultural waste produced in Ghana is oil palm press. Biochar has the potential to be
used as a soil amendment but its
impact on soil fertility and crop yield has not received
adequate attention in Ghana and especially in the coastal savannah agro ecological zone. An
incubation study was conducted at the School of Agriculture Research and Teaching Farm,
University of Cape
Coast to assess the effect of biochar prepared from oil palm press on
selected soil properties and yield of lettuce. The oil palm press was pyrolysed between 350
400 0C using a lucia biomass pyrolytic stove. Coastal savannah Haplic Acrisol was amended
wi
th the Biochar solely or in combination with cowdung manure. Sole application of biochar at
different rates (0 t/ha, 3t/ha, 5t/ha and 10t/ha) or in combination with cowdung (0.42t/ha,
0.82t/ha and 1.67t/ha) were incorporated into pots and lettuce seedlings
transplanted into pots
after 2 weeks at the nursery. Each treatment was replicated three times in a completely
randomised design. The biomass yield of lettuce grown in each treatment for a period of 5
weeks was determined and selected soil properties were
also evaluated. Both sole and combined
applications of biochar significantly increased total soil organic C, soil pH, NO3
--
N and total
dry matter yield of lettuce compared to control treatment. Meanwhile, the sole application of
cowdung significantly incr
eased NH4+
-
N concentrations compared with other treatments. This
finding will be translated to field studies so an inform decision can be taken for its
recommendation to farmers in the tropical coastal savannah zone to use cow dung in
combination with bioc
har for farming since cowdung is also readily available especially at the
university farms.
Key words: Biochar, oil palm press, haplic acrisol, soil fertility.