Effects of nitrogen, phosphorus and vermicompost fertilizers on productivity of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) in Babile, Eastern Ethiopia
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Though groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is a main cash crop for smallholder farmers in several districts of eastern Ethiopia, its yield is very low. Farmers apply little or no fertilizers to grow the crop possibly because no generic or recommended fertilizers rates available for farmers. Therefore field experiments were conducted for two consecutive cropping seasons in Babile district, to prove the hypothesis that one of the major factors that severely reduce the yield of the crop was lack of nutrients in the soil with the objective of investigating the effects of applying mineral NP fertilizers and vermicompost on the productivity of improved groundnut variety ‘BaHa-Gudo’. The experiment was 3 × 3 × 3 factorial with three replications laid down in a randomized complete block design comprising nitrogen (0, 23 and 46 kg N ha-1 ), phosphorus (0, 46 and 92 kg P2O5 ha-1 ) and vermicompost (0, 2.5 and 5 t vermicompost ha-1 ). The data on crop growth, nodulation and yield were collected and subjected to analysis of SAS 9.2 software. Means separation were made using Duncans Multiple Range Test (DMRT) at 5% level of significance. The results revealed that growth, yield attributes, and yields were significantly (P < 0.01) affected by the main and interactions effect of the treatments. The pod yield obtained from combined application of 46: 46 kg N: P2O5 ha-1 and 2.5 t vermicompost ha-1 exceeded the pod yield produced from nil application of fertilizers by about 100%. The economic analysis also indicated that the highest marginal rate of return (671%) and net benefit ($ 1,830) ha-1 were obtained from combined application of 46: 46 kg N: P2O5 ha-1 and 2.5 t vermicompost ha-1 . From the results it could be concluded that applying the aforementioned doses of fertilizers combination would enable farmers increase productivity of groundnut so as to enhance farmers’ income and livelihoods.