Agriculture Project Topics

The Effect of Different Organic Manure on Cucumber Plant

The Effect of Different Organic Manure on Cucumber Plant


Objective of the study

The main objective of this study is to determine the effects of organic manure on the growth and yield of varieties of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.

The specific objectives of this work is to:

  1. determine the physical and chemical properties of pelleted and unpelleted composted organic materials
  2. determine the effects of pelleted and unpelleted composted organic materials on the growth and yield of three varieties of cucumber (Cucumis sativus )
  3. evaluate the effects of unpelleted composted rice husks + poultry manure (75%:25%,v/v) rates on the growth and yield of three varieties of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.)

Research Questions

  1. what are physical and chemical properties of pelleted and unpelleted composted organic materials?
  2. What are the effects of pelleted and unpelleted composted organic materials on the growth and yield of cucumber (Cucumis sativus )?




Conceptual framework

What is Organic Manure?

Organic manure refers to the bulky materials, mostly derived from farm and animal waste products, such as compost, cow dung, farmyard manure, slurry; sewage sludge etc.(Srivastava, 2007). It is a highly valuable fertilizer amendment for soil-crop agricultural system. All over the world today, crops grown with organic manure command better market prices. The quality of organic manure can be improved through composting and fortification with inorganic fertilizers such as urea, single superphosphate fertilizers, etc.

Properties of Organic Manure Vital for Crop Growth and Development

Physical Properties of Organic Manure

Manure may be viewed as a solid, liquid or mixture of liquid and solid materials. The dry matter or solid content of manure represents the proportion on a mass basis of the dissolved and suspended materials in the manure (ASAE, 2002a). The amount of the dry matter or solid content of manure which represents the proportion on a mass basis of dissolved and suspended materials is the basis use in classifying manure. According to Angela et al. (2003), manure is classified based on their physical form such as liquid manure, solid manure and semi-solid manure. Liquid manure is manure with less than 10 percent dry matter fraction. It flows easily when poured. It can be applied to the soil with pumps, pipes, tank wagons and irrigation equipments (PAMI, 1997). It is normally stored in tanks, pit or ponds usually called lagoon in a large intensive livestock production farm. Semi-solid manure contains 10 to 20 percent dry matter content and can be handled as liquid manure but it is more viscose than liquid manure, while solid manure is sometimes regarded as dry manure, it contains more than 20 percent dry matter; it can be stored in an open lot or pen in a livestock production farm.

The physical indicators use in characterizing organic manure varies due to the differences in the form in which manure exist. Liquid manure, slurry or semi-solid manure exhibit typical fluid properties such as deformity [ability to be strained under the application of a shearing force and at a velocity that is proportion to the magnitude of the applied shearing force (Henderson et al., 1997)], incompressibility, viscosity, surface tension, volume and density (Douglas et al., 2001). At dry matter lower than 5% liquid, slurry manure behaves as a Newtonian fluid and gradually becomes non-Newtonian with increasing total solid content (Chen, 1986; Lague et al., 2005). The value of the density and viscosity is higher is semi-solid manure than in liquid manure, since the proportion of the dry matter content is much higher in semi-solid manure than in liquid manure and thus the value of dry mass density and resistance to flow or fluid thickness termed viscosity will be higher.

Bulk density is another seminal physical attribute use in describing the solid phase of manure. It is defined as dry mass per unit volume occupied by manure (Jabado, 2009). It is not an intrinsic property of an organic material. Its function depends on the particle size of manure material, amount of micro-pores and macro-pores, source of organic manure (plant, animal or industrial waste), state  of material (dry, senescence or fresh for plant base stocks) and  handling method (composting or drying). It is observed that composting reduces the value of the bulk density of organic resources. Plant parts like bark, leaf pruning and twigs have higher value of bulk density than dry poultry manure. The recommended bulk density of an organic material that is optimal for root growth and extension is between the ranges of 1.0 to 1.7 g cm-3 (Jabado, 2009)

Water holding capacity is the ability of an organic material to retain water (Srivastava, 2007). Water is present in solid organic manure in form of gravitational water, which is the water that is held in the large pores and rapidly drains out under the action of gravity, Capillary water is the water present in the pore spaces of the organic material and hygroscopic water is water that is adsorb on the surface of the organic matter particles (Brady and Weil, 2006). Water holding capacity is a function of particle size, arrangement of particle size and porosity. Organic manure such as dry poultry manure has a higher value of water holding capacity than the more coarse ones like rice husk and leaf pruning Thus, fine particle size materials, can hold more water than coarse organic materials.

Porosity is a measure of the amount of space in a material. The value is between zero and one or as a percentage between zero and one hundred percent (Jabado, 2009). Porosity decreases as particle size increases. Zhang and Westerman (1997) concluded that there exit a relationship between the size of the particles of suspended solids in the manure and the distribution of nutrients within the manure. Most of the reduced carbon compounds, protein materials and nutrient elements especially nitrogen and phosphorous are contained in the finer particles (particle size smaller than 0.25 mm).

 Chemical Properties of Organic Manure

Organic  material is an amalgam, a sink or a constitution of many essential and non-essential nutrients or substances fixed or immobilized in the macromolecular structure of organic resources which can be made available to plant through the soil by processes of mineralization, nitrification and decomposition mechanisms  The physical form of organic manure influences the chemical characterization of organic manure. The liquid manure is so rich in dissolve nutrients such as ammonia, nitrate, potassium ions, magnesium ions and calcium ions, these nutrients are readily available for plant uptake via the root hairs. Rice straw, rice hull and other straws of graminaceous crops with abundant fibrous materials usually have a high carbon-nitrogen ratio by weight, with a low nitrogen content but fairly high potassium and silica contents. Hsieh and Hsieh (1990) noted that for rice straw, rice hull, rice bran, corn stalks and coconut shell the carbon-nitrogen ratio is 78:1-88:1, 70:1-106:1, 18:1-22:1, 68:1 and 37:1 by weight  respectively.  Leguminous green manure such as Sesbania sesban, Crotalaria juncea, Berseem clover are important sources of natural nitrogen. They fix nitrogen from the air and at flowering stage, are usually incorporated into the soil, about ten days before planting the main crop (Chong-Ho et al., 2005). The nutrient content of swine manure is slightly higher than that of cattle manure, but with a higher copper content and a lower content of fibrous materials, discouraging repeated long-term applications of this manure (Chong-Ho et al., 2005). It is best to dilute by mixing it with rice hull, sawdust, rice straw and similar fibrous materials and fermenting it before use. The nutrient content of chicken manure is much higher than that of swine manure. It is higher in zinc content and antibiotics and has low content of fibrous materials. Cattle manure has a reasonably high content of nitrogen, potassium and fibrous materials. It is good animal manure because it does not have heavy metals and antibiotics in it (Chong-Ho et al., 2005).

pH of organic manure is a pertinent chemical descriptor of organic manure. It is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substrate (Brady and Weil, 2006). A pH equal to seven indicate a neutral pH. measured on a logarithmic scale ranging from 0 to 14, a pH greater than seven denotes alkaline media and a pH less than seven signifies acidic media. The acidity of organic manure is determined by the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) on manure particles and in the manure solution. The pH of organic manure influences the activity of microorganisms. Bacteria are more prevalent at pH greater than 5.5, while fungi are most active at pH less than 5.5 (Jabado, 2009). Nitrification occurs most readily at a neutral pH, contributing to the transformation of the ammonium-nitrogen cation (NH4+) to the nitrate-nitrogen anion (NO3).  The pH content of a material also affects the micronutrient availability in that material. Micronutrient availability is optimal at pH range of 5.0 to 6.5 (Jabado, 2009).

Buffering capacity is the ability to withstand rapid pH fluctuations (Brady and Weil, 2006). Manure with a high buffering capacity requires incorporation of a greater quantity of acid or base to alter the pH than manure with a low buffering capacity. Manure characterized by low buffering capacities include sandy mixes containing little organic matter, while manure exhibiting high buffering capacities are usually composed of greater quantities of organic matter such as peat moss and  poultry manure (Jabado, 2009). Manure with a high buffering capacity is most preferred as it helps in the alleviation of unexpected pH fluctuations.

Cation exchange capacity (CEC) quantifies the ability of organic manure to provide a nutrient reserve for plant uptake. It is the sum of exchangeable cations or positively charged ions, manure can adsorb per unit weight or volume (Jabado, 2009). It is usually measured in milligram equivalents per 100 g or 100 cm3 (meq/100 g or meq/100 cm3, respectively). A high CEC value characterizes manure with a high nutrient-holding capacity that can retain nutrients for plant uptake.  Organic manure characterized by a high CEC retains nutrient from leaching during irrigation. Important cations in the cation exchange complex in order of adsorption strength include calcium ion (Ca2+) > magnesium ion (Mg2+) > potassium ion (K+) > ammonium ion (NH4+), and sodium ion (Na+). Micronutrients which are also adsorbed to media particles include iron ion  (Fe2+ and Fe3+), manganese ion (Mn2+), zinc ion  (Zn2+), and copper ion  (Cu2+) (Jabado, 2009). The cations bind loosely to negatively charged sites on manure particles until they are released into the liquid phase of the manure. Once they are released into the manure solution, cations are absorbed by plant roots or exchanged for other cations held on the soil particles. Some manure retains small quantities of anion (negatively charged ions) in addition to cations. However, anion exchange capacities are usually negligible, allowing anions such as nitrate ion (NO3), chloride ion  (Cl), sulphate ion  (SO4), and phosphate ion (H2PO4) to leach from the media (Jabado, 2009). The concentration of potassium, magnesium, and calcium expressed as a percentage of the cation exchange capacity is referred to as the percent base saturation (Jabado, 2009). Values for percent base saturation should be within the range of 1-5%, 10-15%, and 60-80% for potassium, magnesium, and calcium, respectively (Jabado, 2009).  Manure nutrient analysis recommendations for the application of these nutrients are established from the ratios of potassium, magnesium, and calcium to each other in addition to the quantity of these nutrients present in the manure (Jabado, 2009).

Biological Properties of Organic Manure

     Manure contains many micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi, protozoa and virus Some of these micro-organisms help in the degradation, mineralization, nitrification and uptake of nutrient and some may be pathogenic to human. Obigbesan (1983) reported that yams (Dioscorea sp.) depend on an effective mycorrhizal association between the roots and certain fungi to meet their phosphorus requirements. Higher yields are obtained with high mycorrhizal infection and low soil phosphorus concentration, suggesting that it is feasible to use fungus in adequate supply in the soil.  Examples of micro-organisms found in organic manure are Nitrobacter, Nitrosoma, Rhizobia, E-coli, Helicobacter pyhlori, Campylobacter, Salmonella and Listeria (Lee et al., 1993). Quessy et al. (2005) reported that microorganisms such as Salmonella, Yersinia enterocolitica, Listeria Monocytogenesis and Cryotoporidium in cattle, poultry and swine manure are able to survive typical storage conditions used on livestock farms and also that most of these organisms can be detected in the soil following land application of manure.

Agronomic Benefits of Organic Manure in Crop Production

The Effects of Organic Manure Application on Soil Physical Properties

Physical properties are mainly soil attributes that are connected with the physical arrangement of the solid particles and pores. They include soil texture, topsoil depth, bulk density, porosity, aggregate stability, soil hydrophobicity, soil compaction, surface sealing and soil crusting and penetration resistance (Anikwe, 2006). These indicators mainly affect root growth, seedling emergence, water infiltration or movement of water within the soil profile. Hussein (2009) reported that increasing the rate of sewage sludge application reduces the bulk density due to homogeneous distribution of manure constituents between soil particles and the decomposition of sludge by micro–organisms producing many essential cementing materials that can link soil particles to form soil aggregates. Powell et al. (1996; 1999) noted that the effects of different manuring and corralling treatments increased the soil porosity and aggregate stability, increased the water infiltration and water holding capacity, soil organic matter, soil pH, cation exchange capacity and nutrient availability but decreased eolin soil losses.



The physical and chemical properties of the pelleted and unpelleted composted organic materials revealed significant (p < 0.05) variations. The pelleted composted organic materials were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in bulk density and lower in total porosity and available water holding capacity. The highest bulk density value was observed in the topsoil treatment followed by pelleted composted maize cobs + poultry manure (75%:25%, v/v). Unpelleted composted organic materials were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in total porosity and available water capacity and lower in bulk density. The highest total porosity and available water holding capacity was observed in unpelleted composted rice husks (100%, v/v). The growth traits (plant height, leaf area per plant, number of internodes per plant, number of leaves per plant, internode length per plant and stem girth per plant) and yield performances (root, stem, leaf dry weight, fruit length, fruit width, fruit girth, number of fruits per plant and total fresh fruit weight) of the three varieties of cucumber grown in soil amended with unpelleted composted rice husks + poultry (75%:25%, v/v) had significantly (p < 0.05) the highest values compared with the other treatments. This placed unpelleted composted rice husks + poultry (75%:25%, v/v) as the best amendment for the cultivation of cucumber in the greenhouse.

The responses of the three varieties of cucumber (Poinsett, Marketer and Supermarketer) to different rates of unpelleted composted rice husks + poultry manure (75%:25%, v/v) in the field showed that the growth traits (plant height, leaf area per plant, number of internodes per plant, number of leaves per plant, internode length per plant and stem girth per plant) and yield performances (root, stem, leaf dry weight, fruit length, fruit width, fruit girth, number of fruits per plant and total fresh fruit weight)  were significantly (p < 0.05) increased with the application of the different rates of unpelleted composted rice husks + poultry manure. Thus the highest rate (15 t ha-1) gave the highest values of the growth traits and yield parameters in the three varieties of cucumber. This place 15 t ha-1 of unpelleted composted rice husks + poultry manure (75%:25%, v/v) as the most satisfactory rate of application for cucumber production in the field. Although little above this rate could be recommended in the field to help combat losses of nutrients by volatilization into the atmosphere and leaching into rivers and streams.


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