Full Length Research Paper
Poor soil fertility and low level of fertilizer application results in low productivity of irrigated tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) in Arba Minch Zuria District, Southern Ethiopia. Therefore, this experiment was conducted to evaluate the role of integrated application of dry bioslurry and chemical fertilizers on growth performance and fruit yield of tomato, and on soil properties. A factorial combination of six levels of fertilizers and two tomato varieties (Gelilea and Roma VF) were laid out in randomized complete block design with three replications. The six fertilizer treatments included were: (1) control, (2) nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer (NP), (3) blended fertilizer (NPSZnB), (4) NP + bioslurry, and (5) blended fertilizer +bioslurry and (6) bioslurry without any fertilizer. Gelila variety was superior to Roma VF in marketable and total fruit yields. All growth parameters of tomato such as (plant height, branches, etc) were significantly (P<0.05) enhanced by fertilizer application. Fertilizer and variety interaction significantly (P<0.05) influenced number of primary and secondary branches, fruit clusters per plant, and average fruit weight. The results showed that dry bioslurry and chemical fertilizers application significantly (P<0.05) increased total and marketable fruit yields. The highest total and marketable fruit yields occurred when NP and blended fertilizer were applied in integrated forms with dry bioslurry to soils. The integrated bioslurry application with NP and blended fertilizer also increased total N, organic carbon and pH of the study soil after harvest. Therefore, regular application of dry bioslurry and chemical fertilizer recommended for improved and sustainable irrigated tomato production and soil fertility improvement in Arba Minch Zura District, southern Ethiopia.
Key words: Bioslurry, chemical fertilizer, tomato fruit yield, integrated soil fertility management.
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