Soil acidity and nutrients deficiency are the major constraints causing low crop yield and food insecurity in the highlands of Ethiopia. A field experiment was conducted in northwestern Ethiopia during 2018 and 2019 cropping seasons to study effects of compost and lime application on soil properties and wheat yield.
The treatments consisted of three compost levels (0, 3 and 6 t ha-1) and three lime rates (0, 1 and 2 t ha-1) arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Before planting and after harvest, soil samples were collected from each experimental plot to analyze soil properties.
Combination of lime and compost significantly (p<0.05) increased soil pH, soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, available phosphorus and exchangeable base cations. In contrast, exchangeable acidity and aluminum levels decreased substantially compared to individual application of amendments. Compared to the control, application of 2 t ha-1 lime, 6 t ha-1 compost alone and their combination increased wheat grain yield by 24.6%, 42% and 97.5%, respectively. Besides, the combined application of compost and lime provided the highest net benefit (1915.90 US$ ha-1), which was noticeably greater than the control (1034.44 US$ ha-1).
The application of lime and compost in combination is an effective option to curb soil acidity while enhancing soil nutrients availability and crop yields at lower input costs. However, to determine the application frequency, long-term effects of compost and lime in combination on acidic soil properties and crop yield need to be investigated through further research.
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