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The Nigerian Agricultural Journal 26(1991)45—58

PERFORMANCE OF SOYABEAN (Glycine max (L.) merrill) IN


THE NORTHERN GUINEA SAVANNA AS AFFECTED BY
VARIETY, NITROGEN AND POTASSIUM FERTILISER
LEVELS
CHIEZEY, U.F. and YAYOCK, J.Y.
D ep artm en t o f A g ro n o m y
In s titu te fo r A g ric u ltu ra l Research
A h m ad u B ello ■University
P .M .B . 1044, Z a ria

ABSTRACT
Field experiments were conducted at Samaru, Nigeria, for three years during the rainy seasons o f
1983-85 to evaluate the responses o f two soyabean IGlydne max (L.) Merrill) varieties to applied nitrogen
and potassium fertilisers. Two soyabean varieties (Samsoy-1 and M-351), three levels o f nitrogen (0, 30
and 60 kg N /ha) and three levels o f potassium (O, 20, and 40 kg K /ha) were tested in all possible factorial
combinations.
The two varieties tested did not differ significantly from each other in the yield parameters, although
M-351 was taller but had fewer branches than Samsoy-1. Growth and yield were not significantly in­
fluenced by nitrogen and potassium application. Nodulation was significantly reduced by N application
but was unaffected by the application o f K.

INTRODUCTION
The increased output of soyabean in Nigeria has largely depended on the expan­
sion of the land area under cultivation. With the growing practice of intensive use of
land due to increasing pressure on the arable land, the use of improved varieties and
inorganic fertilisers to maintain high production has become increasingly important.
Again, soyabean production in Nigeria is centred in the savanna ecological zone
where the soil is characteristically low in nitrogen and phosphorus.
The mineral nutrition of soyabean has been widely reported. While the response
to applied phosphorus has always resulted in increased grain yield (Bhangoo and
Albritton, 1972, Jones et. a /., 1980, Pal at. a !., 1989), the response to fertiliser
nitrogen has not been consistent (Pettiet, 1971, Hanway and Weber, 1971).
Although it is generally accepted that the crop, like any other legume, is capable of
fixing nitrogen in association with R h izo b iu m jap o n icu m , it is not clear whether the
symbiotically fixed N meets all the N requirements of the crop. Hardy (1959), Ar­
nold (1969), Kalia e t a i. 1984) indicated that symbiotic N fixation alone was suffi­
cient to supply all the N needs of soyabean and that there was no need to apply sup­
plemental N. On the contrary, Weber (1966), Ham e t a i. 1975) and Kuwahara e t ai.
(1986) reported that symbiotically fixed N alone could not sustain the high yield of
soyabean, and obtained higher grain yield when fertiliser nitrdgen was applied com­
pared to where it was not. The amount of symbiotically fixed N has been estimated
to be between 30 and 80% of the total N requirement of soyabean (Hanway and
Weber, 1971; Kang, 1975; Thurlow and Hitbo^d, 1985; Soliman, 1986), thereby
showing that soyabean can benefit from N application.
Potassium has been shown to increase the grain yield of soyabeanjjarticularly
on soils of low K status (Chesney, 1973; Boswell and Anderson, 1976; Terman,
1977). Although the soils of the savanna are generally high in potassium, there is

45
evidence suggesting that this nutrient is becoming deficient with the intensity of
cropping (Lombin, 1987). Heathcote and Stockinger (1970), Singh and
Balsubaramanian (1978) had observed deficiency of K in some savanna soils and had
obtained significant increases in the grain yield of groundnut with the application of
K.
The demand for soyabean oil for cooking and industrial purposes, and other
soya-based products for livestock feed has increased in Nigeria. This increase in de­
mand has stimulated large-scale production of sole crop soyabean. In order to meet
demands, some high yielding and shattering-tolerant varieties were released in 1983.
This study was, therefore, undertaken to determine the response of two of these
varieties to applied N and K fertilisers.

MATERIALS AND METHOD


Field experiments were conducted during the rainy seasons of 1983, 1984 and
1985 in Samaru (11° 11’ N 7° 38’ E) in the Northern Guinea Savanna zone of
Nigeria. Average annual rainfall in this zone is about 1,100 mm and falls between
May and October. Two soyabean varieties, Samsoy-1, newly released by the In­
stitute for Agricultural Research (IAR) Samaru and M-351 procurred from the In­
ternational Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan were tested. Three levels
of nitrogen (0, 20 and 60 kg N/ha) and three levels of potassium (0, 20 and 40 kg
K/ha) (a total of 18 treatments) were arranged in factorial combinations and laid out
in a randomized complete block with four replications.
Soil samples were taken to a depth of 30 cm before fertiliser application and
analysed for both physical and chemical properties using standard procedure (IITA,
1975). Each treatment combination was accommodated in plot measuring 6 m long
and 4.8 m wide containing eight ridges, 60 cm apart. Soyabean seed were sown on
the ridges at intra row spacing of 5.6 cm to achieve a plant density of 300,000 plants
per hectare. Each fertiliser treatment was side-banded at planting and basal dose of
26 kg P/ha was applied to all plots using single superphosphate.
Weed was controlled with a pre-emergence herbicide, Galex (Metolochlor +
Metabromuron in the ratio of 1:1) at the rate of 2.25 a.i./ha. Subsequently, one hoe
weeding was carried out six weeks after sowing (WAS) to control weeds that emerg­
ed later. ^
At full maturity, the four inner rows (14.4 m ) were hand harvested and thresh­
ed for grain yield. The data collected from each year and those for the three years
combined were subjected to analysis of variance, and treatment means were com­
pared using the least significant difference (LSD) as described by Snedecor and
Cochran (1980).

RESULTS
Soyabean yield was highest in 1984, probably due to a more favourable rainfall
distribution (Table 1). Table 2 shows the nutrient status of the soil, indicating low
contents of nitrogen and phosphorus but high potassium content.
The yield and yield components of the two varieties tested did not differ
significantly. M-351 was significantly taller than Samsoy-1 by 29.3% but had
significantly, fewer branches than Samsoy-1 (Tables 4 and 5 respectively). The total
dry matter was also significantly higher in M-351 than in Samsoy-1 (Table 6).

Effect of Nitrogen
Grain yield was increased significantly in 1984 only (by 17%) when the N level
was increased from zero to 60 kg N/ha (Table 3). However, when averaged over the
three years, application of N did not significantly influence soyabean grain yield.

46
Plant height and number of branches remained unchanged with increase in N ap­
plication (Tables 4 and 5 respectively). Similarly, total dry matter per plant and
100-seed weight were not affected by N level (Tables 6 and 7 respectively). Although
total pod weight per plant remained unchanged with changes in N level, pod number
increased significantly by 13.5% with the application of 60 kg N/ha compared to the
no N treatment (Table 8). Averaged over the three years, nodule number and dry
weight declined significantly by 33.7 and 66.7% respectively at 12 WAS when the
nitrogen level was increased from zero to 60 kg N /ha (Table 9).

Effect of Potassium
In 1985 only, grain yield declined by 19% by increasing K level from 20 to 40 kg
k/ha (Table 3). Yield average for the three years was not significantly affected by K
application. Plant height and number of branches per plant remained unchanged
with the application of K compared to where K was not applied (Tables 4 and 5
respectively). Application of 20 kg k/ha increased total dry matter when compared
with the zero K treatment but the increase was not significant (Table 6). However,
increasing the level of K from 20 to 40 kg k/ha reduced total dry matter per plant,
significantly and by 16.9% when averaged over the three years. 100-seed weight was
not affected by changes in K level (Table 7). Averages over the three years showed
that yield and number of pods per plant remained unchanged with K application
(Table 8). Nodulation was also not significantly affected by the application of K
(Table 9).
There were no significant interactions on any of the parameters measured.

DISCUSSION
Similarities in the performance of the two varieties could be due to their com­
mon genetic background. Both were derived from crosses between the ‘Malayan’
and the Clemson non-shattering types.
The observed presence of nodules on the soyabean roots even without inocula­
tion showed the presence of indigenous R hizo b iu m spp in the soil, however, it was
not possible to determine the effectiveness of these nodules dye to technical pro­
blems. This finding confirmed the observation of Pulver e ta /. (1985) who observed
that some soyabean varieties nodulated freely without inoculation in different parts
of Nigeria including the area where this experiment was carried out.
The lack of response of the crop to applied nitrogen with the low level of the
nutrient in the soil suggested that the indigenous R h izo b iu m alone could fix enough
nitrogen to meet the crop requirements. This observation was similar to the reports
by Radley (1968), Rachie and Sylvestre (1977) and Kalia e ta l. (1984) that there was
no increase in grain yield of soyabean with the application of nitrogen on well
nodulated plants. Reduction in nodulation with application of N fertiliser was not
suprising and had similarly been reported by Weber (1966), Vest e t at. (1973) and
Bhangoo and Albritton (1976).
The lack of responses to potassium application could be due to the high level of
the nutrient in the soil. Responses to applied K had been observed in the Sudan
Guinea Savanna (Heathcote, 1972, Singh and Balasubramanian, 1978 and Lombin,
1987), an area of high animal and human populations with a very intensive
agricultural system and where little fertiliser is in use. Agricultural production in the
Northern Guinea savanna where this study was carried out is yet to experience such a
high intensity in cropping. However, as Pal e ta l. (1989) pointed out, continuous in-

47
tensive cropping with adequate application of P and other nutrients may lead to a
reduced amount of exchangeable K in the soil and response to K may become
perceptible in the future.
It has been shown that soyabean does not respond to applied nitrogen in the
northern Guinea savanna zone of Nigeria. Although no response was also observed
with potassium, it is advisable to monitor the element closely as it may become
limiting with increase in intensity of cropping.

T a b le 1 : R a i n f a l l d i s t r i b u t i o n (cm) a t 1 0 -d a y i n t e r v a l s
i n Sam aru d u r i n g 1983 t o 1985 c r o p p in g s e a s o n s .

M onth Y e a r
1983 1984 1985

SSL
1 -1 0 0 5 9 .6 2 7 .1
1 1 -2 0 5 4 .1 2 5 .0 1 4 .7
2 1 -3 1 1 9 .2 1 4 .3 9 8 .9

Ju n e
1 -1 0 1 4 .0 6 .3 1 0 .5
1 1 -2 0 1 4 .0 3 8 .5 6 1 .5 .
2 1 -3 0 4 6 .3 1 0 .6 72*2

J u ly
1 -1 0 4 6 .7 1 8 .9 1 4 3 .6
1 1 -2 0 8 .3 6 6 .5 7 6 .2
2 1 -3 1 5 2 .5 8 8 .4 9 3 .3

A u g u st
1 -1 0 9 8 .8 8 0 .1 9 5 .7
1 1 -2 0 8 4 .0 3 2 .5 7 5 .7
2 1 -3 1 7 6 .9 4 5 .5 8 4 .9

S e p te m b e r
1 -1 0 5 1 .7 6 1 .7 5 2 .5
1 1 -2 0 3 8 .2 2 7 .6 7 5 .4
2 1 -3 0 3 .5 9 9 .7 3 5 .4

O c to b e r
1 -1 0 1 2 5 .4 1 .1
1 1 -2 0 0 5 3 .0 2 .2
2 1 -3 1 0 0 0

48
\Table 2: Physical, and chemical properties of the top
soil (30 cm) of the experimental plots

Characteristics 1983 1984 1985

Chemical characterstics

pH (H20) 5.6 5.5 5.0

PH (CaCl2) 5.0 5.0 4.5

Organic carbon (%) 0.15 0.6 0.6

Available P (ppm) 2.5 3.1 2.7

Total N (%) 0.04 0.04 0.04

Exchangeable bases

Exchangeable Ca
(Me/lOOg Soil) 1.3 1.2 3.0

" Mg
(Me/lOOg Soil) 0.7 0.7 0.7

" K
(Me/lOOg Soil) 0.3 0.3 0. 2

C.E.C. 5.6 9.8 4.2

Physical characteristics

Clay (%) 12.0 16.0 14.0

Silt j%) 36.0 30.0 35.0

Sand (%) 52.0 54.0 51.0

Textural Class Sandy Sandy Sandy


loam loam loam

49
Table 3s Grain yield per hectare of two soyabean
varieties at harvest as influenced by dif­
ferent levels of nitrogen and potassium
fertilizers

Grain yield/ha (kg)

Treatment 198 3 1984 1985 Mean

Variety

Samsoy-1 1197.2 2098.8 1049.3 1449.4

M—531 1330.2 2037.1 1226.2 1531.2

LSD (0.05) NS NS 162.0* NS

Nitroqen Level

0 kg/ha 1164.9 1958.4 1129.5 1417.6

30 " 1297.4 1953.7 1148.0 1466.3

60 '• 1328.9 2291.7 1135.7 1585.4

LSD (0.05) NS 327.8* NS NS

Potassium Level

0 kg/ha 1229.6 2032.4 1154.2 1469.1

20 " 1257.5 2194.5 1246.8 1566.3

40 •' 1313.1 1876.9 1012.2 1434.1

LSD (0.05) NS NS NS NS

Mean (Yr) 1263.7 2068.0 1137.5 1454.8

LSD (Yr at 0.05) 292.0*

"significant at 5% level of probaility.

50
Table 4j Effect of variety and N and K fertiliser on
the height of soyabean plant at harvesting.

Plant heiqht (cm)


Treatment 1983 1984 1985 Mean

Variety

Samsoy-1 44.1 47.0 30.7 40.6

M— 351 55.0 60.3 42.3 52.5


* * _*
LSD (0.05) 6.3 8.8 5.8 3.9

Nitrogen Level

0 kg/ha 44.7 53.3 38.0 45.3

30 " 50.9 53.5 35.3 46.6

60 " 53.1 54.2 36.3 47.8


LSD (0'OS} 7.8* NS NS NS

Potassium Level

0 kg/ha 46.8 48.9 36.1 43.9

20 " 50.1 57.5 36.4 48.3

40 » 51.9 54.5 36.1 47.5

LSD (0.05) NS NS NS NS

Mean (yr) 49.6 53.7 36.5 46.6

LSD (yr at 0.05) 11.4*

'significant at 5% level of probability.

51
Table 5s Effect of variety and N and K fertiliser on
the number of branches of soyabean at harvest.

Number of branches
Treatment 198 3 1984 1985 Mean

Variety

Samsoy-1 9.3 8.1 6.7 8.0

M— 351 9.6 7.4 5.2 7.4

LSD (0.05) NS NS 0.7 0.5

Nitrogen Level

0 kg/ha 9.6 7.8 6.4 7.9

30 » 8.6 7.9 6.2 7.9

60 " 9.1 7.7 5.4 7.4

LSD (0.05) NS NS 0.9* N.S

Potassium Level

0 kg/ha 9.4 7.2 6.4 7.7


20 " 9.5 7.5 6.2 7.7

40 « 9.4 8.6 5.4 7.8

LSD (0.05) NS NS 0.9* NS

Mean (Yr) 9.4 7.8 6.0 7.7

LSD (Yr at 0.05) 0.7

Significant at 5% level of probability •

52
Table 6; Effect of variety and N and K fertilisers on
total dry matter per soyabean plant at harvest.

Total dry matter/plant(q)


Treatment 1983 1984 1985 Mean

Variety

Samsoy-1 18.2 24.7 18.4 20.4

M-351 19.1 25.5 24.2 22.9


*
LSD (0.05) NS NS 3i9* 2.1

Nitrogen Level

0 kg/ha 18.1 25.7 18.6 20.9

30 » 18.5 28.4 22.3 23.1


60 " 19.3 21.2 23.7 21.1

LSD (0.05) »NS 4.5 4.8* NS

Potassium Level

0 kg/ha 18.0 25.2 21.3 21.6

20 " 19.9 26.4 24.8 23.7


o

23.8 17.7 19.7


c

18.1
• e
LSD NS NS 4.8 2.6

Mean (Yr) 18.7 25.1 21.3 21.7

LSD (Yr at 0.05) 4.1

’significant at 5% level of probability.


Table 7: Effect of variety and N and K fertilisers
on 100-seed weight of soyabean.

100-seed weight (q)


Treatment 1983 1984 1985 Mean

Variety

Samsoy-1 6.9 11.8 9.1 9.3

M-351 7.2 11.6 9.4 9.4

LSD (0.05) NS NS NS NS

Nitrogen Level

0 kg/ha 7.0 11.4 9.2 9.2

30 " 7.0 11.7 9.4 9.4

60 » 7.2 11.9 9.4 9.5

LSD (0.05) NS NS NS NS

Potassium Level

0 kg/ha 7.0 11.5 9.2 9.2

20 " 7.2 11.8 9.5 9.5

7.0 11.8 9.3 9.4


o

LSD (0.05) NS NS NS NS

Mean (Yr) 7.1 11.7 9.3 9.4

LSD (Yr at 0.05) 4.1*

‘significant at 5% level of probability.

54
Table 8s E f f e c t of variety and N and K fertilisers on
pod number and pod yield per plant at harvest.

No. of pods/plant Pod yield/plant (g)


Treatment 1983 1984 1985 Mean 1983 1984 1985 Mean

Variety

Samsoy-1 67.6 119.9 54.1 80.5 10.5 34.5 13.8 19.6


M— 351 70.0 125.5 60.5 85.3 11.1 35.5 18.5 21.2

LSD (0.05) NS NS NS NS NS NS .3.2 NS

Nitrogen Level

0 kg/ha 67.4 110.6 52.6 76.9 10.2 35.5 14.0 19.9


30 " 67.1 126.9 59.1 84.4 11.3 36.4 17.2 21.6
60 « 71.3 130.7 59.8 87.3 11.0 32.7 17.3 20.3
LSD (0.05) NS 110.7* NS NS NS NS NS NS

Potassium Level

0 kg/ha 67.2 119.9 58.4 81.8 10.6 35.0 16.1 20.6

20 " 68.6 131.1 65.2 88.3 11.0 35.3 19.0 21.8


5

70.1 117.2 47.9 78.4 10.9 34.3 13.3 19.5


o

LSD (0.05) NS NS 16.8* NS NS NS NS NS


Mean (Yr) 68.6 122.7 57.2 8.28 10.8 34.9 16.1 20.6
LSD (Yr at
0 05) -i a 7* /— _\ q 2*
* 4r~--

Significant at 5% level of probability.

55
Table 9: Effect of variety and N and K fertiliser on
nodule number and dry weight per plant of
soyabean.

Treatment Nodule No. (Average of Nodule dry wt (g)


3 years) ^Average of 3 years

WAS MAS
4 8 12 4 8 12

Variety
Samsoy-1 2.3 39.7 47.0 0.1 0.6 1.6

M—351 2.3 41.2 40.0 0.1 0.5 1.3

LSD (0.05) NS NS NS NS NS NS

Nitrogen Level

0 kg/ha 3.0 45.1 52.3 0.2 0.5 2.1

30 If
2.3 42.2 43.7 0.1 0.5 1.5

60 *» 1.8 34.0 34.7 0 . 1 0.6 0.7

LSD (0.05) 0.5* NS 16.8* NS NS 1.3

Potassium Level

0 kg/ha 2.0 40.0 50.0 0 . 1 0.5 2.0

20 88
2.5 45.0 40.5 0.2 0.6 1.2

40 ft
2.4 36.2 40.2 0 . 1 0.5 1 . 0

LSD (0.05) NS NS NS NS NS NS

*Significant at 5% level of probability.

WAS = Weeks after sowing.

56
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