Maize Response to Leguminous Biomass Composted with Phosphate Rocks in the Northern Zone of Tanzania

Main Article Content

Mawazo Shitindi
Kokoasse Kpomblekou-A
Wendell H. McElhenney
Ramble Ankumah
Johnson Semoka
Mateete Bekunda
Conrad Bonsi


A study was conducted to evaluate maize response to leguminous biomass composted with phosphate rocks (PRs) in a split plot design. Field experiments were conducted at Wang’waray Farmers Training Center (F.T.C) located in Babati District of Manyara region in the Northern zone of Tanzania between December 2013 and June 2015. Three leguminous (Crotalaria juncea, Lablab purpureus and Mucuna pruriens) strips were cultivated in 2013/14 to produce a biomass which was harvested at flowering to early podding stage and air dried.  Air-dry biomass was composted with PRs from Minjingu (medium reactive PR) and Panda Hill (low reactive PR). Maize response to different treatments was evaluated across the field strips in 2014/15 season. The strips previously used to produce leguminous biomass were used as main plots and each strip was divided into seven subplots receiving different treatments at random. A medium term maize variety SC. 627 was used as a test crop. Average maize grain yields obtained from Crotalaria, Lablab and Mucuna strips reached 5.3, 4.5 and 4.0 t ha-1, respectively and were statistically different (P=.05). Application of Minjingu or Panda Hill PR alone didn’t increase maize grain yield above the control while Minjingu PR applied with urea or composted with biomass increased maize grain yield by 2.40 and 1.58 t ha-1, respectively above the control. Application of Panda Hill PR with urea or composted with biomass increased grain yield by 1.20 and 1.06 t ha-1, respectively above the control. The observed differences (0.82 and 0.14 t ha-1) were not statistically significant indicating that biomass composted with PR was as effective as the PR applied with urea.

Crotaralia, Lablab, Mucuna, phosphate rocks, compost, maize yield

Article Details

How to Cite
Shitindi, M., Kpomblekou-A, K., McElhenney, W., Ankumah, R., Semoka, J., Bekunda, M., & Bonsi, C. (2019). Maize Response to Leguminous Biomass Composted with Phosphate Rocks in the Northern Zone of Tanzania. Journal of Experimental Agriculture International, 35(4), 1-15.
Original Research Article


Saidia PS, Chilagane DA, Alexander W, Janet FM. Evaluation of EM technology on maize (Zea mays L.) growth, development and yield in morogoro Tanzania; 2010. (Accessed 10 Aug. 2015)‎

Mboya R, Tongoona, P, Derera J, Mudhara M, Langyintuo A. The dietary importance of maize in Katumba ward, Rungwe district, Tanzania, and its contribution to household food security. African journal of Agricultural Research. 2011;6(11):2617–2626.

USAID. The legal, regulatory, and institutional consntraints to the growth of maize and rice in Tanzania. Tanzania MicroCLIR Report; 2010.
(Accessed 25 September 2015)‎

Rowhani P, Lobel DB, Linderman M, Ramankutty N. Climate variability and crop production in Tanzania. Agric. Forest Meteor. 2011;151:449-460.

Bekunda MA, Bationo A, Sali H. Soil fertility management in Africa. A review of selected research trials. In: Buresh RJ, Sanchez PA, Calhoun F. Eds. Replenishing soil fertility in Africa.Soil Science Society of America Special Publication No. 51. Madison, Wisconsin; 1997.

Sizlas C, Semoka JMR, Borggard, OK. Establishment of an agronomic database for Minjingu phosphate rock and examples of its potential use. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst. 2007;78:225-237.

Kamhabwa F, Consumption of fertilizers and fertilizer use by crop in Tanzania. International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC); 2014.

Kpomblekou-A K, Tabatabai MA. Effect of low-molecular weight organic acids on phosphorus release and phytoavailabilty of phosphorus in phosphate rocks when added to soils. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 2003;100:275-284.

Mowo JG, Janssen BH, Oenema O, German LA, Mrema, JP, Shemdoe RS. Soil fertility evaluation and management by smallholder farmer communities in the Northern Tanzania. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 2006;116 (1-2):47-59.


National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); Office of Chief Government Statistician (OCGS) Zanzibar. 2012 Population and Housing Census: Population Distribution by Administrative Units; Key Findings. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; 2013.

Kpomblekou K, Tabatabai MA. Effect of organic acids on release of phosphorus from phosphate rocks. Soil Sci. 1994;158: 442–453.

FAO. Guide line for soil description. FAO, Rome, Italy; 2006

Soil survey staff. Keys to Soil Taxonomy 12th Edition. USDA-NRSA; 2014.

Nelson DW, Sommers LE. Total carbon, organic carbon and organic matter. In: Sparks DL, editor. Methods of Soil Analysis Part 3. Chemical Methods. SSSA Book series No. 5. SSSA and ASA, Madson, Wisconsin; 1996.

Bremner JM. Nitrogen Total. In: DL Sparks, editor. Methods of Soil Analysis Part 3. Chemical Methods. SSSA Book series No. 5. SSSA and ASA, Madson, Wisconsin; 1996.

Kuo S. Phosphorus. In: Sparks DL, editor. Methods of Soil Analysis Part 3. Chemical Methods. SSSA Book series No. 5. SSSA, ASA. Madson, Wisconsin; 1996.

Okalebo JR, Gathua KW, Woomer PL. Laboratory methods of soil and plant analysis. Working manual. UNESCO Press, Nairobi, Kenya; 1993.

FAO. On farm composting methods. Land and water discussion paper 2. Rome; 2003.

Nkonya E, Xavery P, Ankomay H, Mwangi F, Ponia, A, Moshi A. Maize production technologies in the Northern Zone Tanzania. Mimeo. Kansas University; 1998.

Landon JR, editor. Booker tropical soil mannual. A handbook for soil survey and agricultural land evaluation in the tropics and subtropics. Addison Wesley Longman Limited, England; 1991.

Dierolf TS, Fairhust TH, Mutert EW. Soil Fertility kit: A toolkit for acid upland soil fertility evaluation and management in south East Asia. Potash and Phosphate Institute, Canada; 2001.

Reisenauer HM, Walsh LM, Hoeft RG. Testing soil for S, B, Mo, and Cl. In: Walsh, M.L. and Beaton JD, editors. Soil testing and plant analysis, SSSA Inc. Madson, Wisconsin; 1973.

Gee GW, Bauder J.W. Particle-size analysis. In: Klute A, editor. Methods of soil analysis: Part 1—physical and mineralogical methods. SSSA Book Series 5.1. SSSA, ASA. Madson, Wisconsin; 1986.

Maranguit D, Nguillaume T, Kuzyakov Y. Land use change affects phosphorus fractions in highly weathered tropical soils. Catena. 2017;149:385-393.

Sakala WD, Kumwenda JDT, Saka AR. The potential of green manure to increase soil fertility and maize yield in Malawi. Biol Agr & Hort. 2002;21(2):121-130.

Graves ER, Hattemer GM. Composting: National Engineering Handbook; 2000. (Accessed 30 June 2009)

Van Straaten P. Rocks for crops: Agrominerals of sub-Saharan Africa. ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya; 2002.

FAO Use of phosphate rock for sustainable agriculture. FAO Fertilizer and Plant Nutrition Bulletin No. 13. Rome; 2004.

Semoka JMR, Mnkeni PNS, Ringo HD. Effectiveness of Tanzania phosphate rocks of igneous and sedmentary origin as source of phosphorus for maize. Zimb Jour Agr Res. 1992;30(2):127-136.

Van Straaten P, Editor. Rock for Crops. Agro minerals of sub-Saharan Africa. Fidelity National Information Solutions Canada, Scarborough, ON, MIB. 3C3, Canada; 2002.

Mnkeni PNS, Semoka JMR, Kaitaba EG. Effects of Mapogoro phillipsite on availability of phosphorus in phosphate rocks. Trop. Agric. 1994;71:249-253.

Szilas C, Semoka JMR, Borggaard OK. Can local Minjingu phosphate rock replace super phosphate on acid soils in Tanzania? 2006.

(Accessed 8 June 201)

Szilas C. The Tanzanian Minjingu phosphate rock - possibilities and limitations for direct application. PhD Thesis. Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark; 2002.

Shitindi MJ. Response of tomato (Lycoperscon esculentum M.) to coffee pulp compost, Minjingu phosphate rock and coffee pulp - Minjingu phosphate rock compost applied to a Chromic acrisol. MSc. dissertation. Sokoine University of Agriculture. Morogoro, Tanzania; 2011.

Preethu DC, Bhanu Prakash BNUH, Srinivasamurthy CA, Vasanthi BG. Maturity indices as an index to evaluate the quality of compost of coffee waste blended with other organic wastes. Proceedings of the International Conference on Sustainable Solid Waste Management. Chennai India; 5-7 September, 2007.

Baijukya FP, de Ridder N. Giller KE. Nitrogen release from decomposing residues of leguminous cover crops and their effect on maize yield on depleted soils of Bukoba District, Tanzania. Pant and Soil. 2006;279:77-93.

Lupatu M, Kilimwiko L. Natural fertilizers: New life for tired soils. Africa Farmer No.6; December 1991. Hunger Project Savaccon gallery, 240 E. 13th street New York; 1991.

Odhiambo JJO, Ogola JBO, Madzivhandila T. Effect of green manure legume – maize rotation on maize yield and weed infestation levels. Afr. J. Agric. Res. 2010; 5(8):618-625.

Mureiythi JG, Gachene CKK, Ojien J. The role of green manure legumes in smallholder farming systems in Kenya. The legume research network project. Tropical and Subtropical Agro Ecosystems. 2003; 1:57-70.

Odhiambo JJO. Potential use of green manure legume cover crops in smallholder maize production systems in Limpopo province, South Africa. Afr Jour Agr Res. 2011;6(1):107-112.

Msolla MM, Semoka JMR, Borggaard OK. Hard Minjingu phosphate rock: An alternative P source for maize production on acid soils in Tanzania. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems. 2005;72:299–308.