Low crop yield has been attributed to soil degradation. Degraded soils require amendments for optimum crop performance. Research has shown that organomineral fertilizer (OMF) has higher potential manorial value for soil amendment. Therefore, a field experiment was carried out between 2007 and 2008 using OMF to improve physically degraded soil and consequently increasing the yields of yam. Organomineral fertilizer at the rates of 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 Mg ha-1 and the control (without fertilizer) were used to plant yam (TDr 219-04) in a randomized complete block design replicated three times. After harvesting of yam tubers in 2007, plots that received OMF at the rates of 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 Mg ha-1 had an increase in saturated hydraulic conductivity, mean weight diameter and field capacity while an increase in penetrometer resistance and permanent wilting point were only obtained from plots that received 2.5 and 3.0 Mg ha-1. Organomineral fertilizer applied at 3.0 Mg ha-1 significantly (p<0.05) improved soil structure and consequently increased soil water retention after the second growing season. Yam tubers were significantly (p<0.05) higher on the plots that had OMF at the rates of 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 Mg ha-1 than the control by 12.80, 23.12, 25.25 and 35.38%, respectively. However, in 2008, only OMF applied at 3.0 Mg ha-1 had significant (p<0.05) residual effects on yam tubers. Correlation coefficient between mean yam tubers and rates of OMF was significant (r = 0.87**) at p<0.01. Higher yam yields obtained from OMF treated plots justified the need to apply OMF to physically degraded soils for amendment.
Key words: Physical properties, organo-mineral fertilizer, residual effect, yam tubers.
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