Response of soil application of biochar on growth, dry matter yield and nutrition of corn (Zea mays L.) grown on sandy loam soils of Gujarat, India*Corresponding Author:
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Biochar was generated at the Anand Agricultural University, Gujarat, India using the standard methodusing 2 kilns from agriculture by-productcorn stover (Zea mays, L), cluster bean stover (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba) and Prosopis julifera wood. The present study investigated 4 organic sources (3 biochars; corn stover biochar (CSB), cluster bean stover biochar(CBSB) & Prosopis julifera wood biochar(PJWB) and farmyard manure(FYM) with 2 rates of biochar (5 & 10 MT ha-1), so8 organic treatments, while said 8 organic treatments was applied withthe recommended dose of fertilizers (RDF, 80-40-0 kg NPK ha-1) , so total 16 treatments in field trial. Application of CSB @ 10 MT ha-1 along with RDF increased dry matter (DM) yield, crude protein (CP) yield, chlorophyll content and plant height (at 30 and 60 days after sowing) than CBSB and PJWB and FYM. It was found that soil application of recommended dose of fertilizer (RDF) along with corn stover biochar (CSB) @ 10 MT ha-1exhibited the highest impact in obtaining significantly higher dry matter and crude protein yields and larger removal of nutrient (P, K, Ca, Mg, S and Cu, significantly higher than others )from the soil and it also beneficial for built up nutrients in soil. It also showed significantly higher organic carbon content and cation exchange capacity in sandy loam soil. The treatment of RDF along with corn stover biochar @ 5.00 MT ha-1 was also at par with the highest dry matter yielder treatment. This study highlights the importance of mixing of biochar along with RDF on its synergistic effect on sandy loam soil nutrient retention, organic carbon content and water holding capacity hence, the amendment value of biochar in sandy loam soil.