Full Length Research Paper
A field experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of different blended fertilizer types (NPSB and NPSBZn) and their rates on fruit yield, nutrient concentration, nutrient uptake and nutrient use efficiency of hot pepper at Assosa, Western Ethiopia. The experiment was set with eight treatments (recommended NP, three different blended rates for each NPSB and NPSBZn and unfertilized plot) laid out in randomized complete block design with three replications using a hot pepper variety Mereko Fana. In the blends since N content was low, supplementary N was applied from Urea to optimize N needs of the crop. The results of the study revealed that the crop phonological parameters (days to flowering and maturity, fruit dry yield and average dry fruit weight) were significantly (p<0.05) affected by blended fertilizer type and rates. The days to flowering and maturity were significantly (p<0.05) improved by application of 100 kg NPSBZn + 29 N kg ha-1. The maximum total dry fruit yields (2.44 t ha-1), the highest fruit uptake of nitrogen (50.1), phosphorus (9.9) and sulfur (4.1 kg ha-1), and the highest apparent nutrient recovery for N (47.91%) were recorded with the application of 150 kg + 44 N kg ha-1 NPSBZn; while higher agronomic efficiency of N (9.59 kg pod kg-1) and P (12.80%) were recorded with the application of 100 kg + 29 N kg ha-1 blended fertilizer rate. In general, the nutrient use efficiency of the blended fertilizers tested was acceptable and high. The uptake of N, P, K and S were significantly and highly correlated (p< 0.01) with total dry fruit yield. Therefore, the study recommends 150 kg NPSBZn + 44 N kg ha-1 blended fertilizer for sustainable hot pepper production in Assosa area of Western Ethiopia.
Key words: Blended fertilizer, Mareko Fana, nutrient uptake, fruit yield, nutrient use efficiency.
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