Response of Crop Geometry, Intercropping Systems and INM Practices
on Yield and Fodder Quality of Baby Corn
Field experiments were conducted during late rabi 2002 and 2003 seasons
at Eastern Block farm of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore,
India. The texture of the experimental fields is sandy clay loam. The
experiments were laid out in split plot design. Two factors viz., crop
geometry (45x25 cm (S1) and 60x19 cm (S2)) and intercropping
systems (Baby corn alone (C1), Baby corn + radish (C2),
Baby corn + coriander (C3)) were taken in main plots and four
INM practices (100% recommended NPK alone (N1); 50% NPK + FYM
+ Azospirillum + phosphobacteria (N2); 50% NPK + poultry
manure + Azospirillum + phosphobacteria (N3) and 50%
NPK + goat manure + Azospirillum + phosphobacteria (N4))
were assigned to sub plots. The experimental results revealed that baby
corn and fodder yields were higher at 60x19 cm spacing level as compared
with S1. Intercropping systems did not influence on baby corn
and fodder yields. The treatments N3 and N4 registered
higher baby corn and fodder yields than N1 and N2.
Neither crop geometry nor intercropping systems did influence on fodder
quality of baby corn. All the three INM practices (N2, N3
and N4) recorded higher values of quality parameters than N1.
However, N3 and N4 values were significantly higher
Maize is the third most important cereal crop in India as well as in
the world. It is used as food for human and feed for livestock especially
poultry industry. It late 1970s people in USA and western countries started
to consume the young raw cobs called baby corn. Change in food habit from
non-vegetarian to vegetarian aggravated the consumption of vegetables
especially baby corn (Thavaprakaash et al., 2006). Though the baby
corn is much popular worldwide, agro-techniques to achieve higher production
is the need of the day.
Space available to the individual plant is important which decides the
utilization of soil resources and also harvest of solar radiation, both
together, in turn decides the yield of baby corn. Though the spacing requirement
of grain and fodder maize has been standardized, the information on the
influence of spacing on fodder yield and quality of baby corn composite
that too under intercropping situation is lacking.
Though baby corn is a short duration crop (65-75 days) and enters into
the reproductive phase 55 Days After Sowing (DAS), until that the resources
such as light, space, moisture and nutrients are under utilized. Such
less utilized resources could be used effectively by introducing short
duration vegetables like radish and coriander which end their life cycle
before 45 DAS and not having much effect on main crop are selected to
grow with baby corn.
A very large number of evidences (Suri et al., 1997; Nanjundappa
et al., 2000; Ramamoorthy and Lourduraj, 2002) confirm the fact
that judicious combination of inorganic fertilizers and organic manures
brings about favorable as well as desirable results in terms of yield,
quality of crop produces and fertility built up of soils. Bio-fertilizers
in combination with inorganic fertilizers and organic manures are the
way to sustain in crop production. Azospirillum is used for maize
and satisfy 20-25% of nitrogen requirement (Rai and Gaur, 1982) whereas
phosphobacteria, a phosphate solubilizing micro-organisms will make available
of phosphate sources from the un and/or less available form (Datta et
Information on the optimum crop geometry to explore the available resources,
suitable intercrops for higher income per unit area and effect of organic
manures in combination with inorganic and bio-fertilizers on baby corn
fodder yield and fodder quality is meagre. Hence, this study has been
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The field experiments were conducted during late rabi (January-March)
2002 and 2003 (December-March) seasons at Eastern Block farm, Tamil Nadu
Agricultural University, Coimbatore. The experimental site is located
at 11°N latitude, 77°E longitude with an altitude of 426.7 m above
MSL. The soil of the experimental area was sandy clay loam (Typic Ustropept)
with alkaline pH; low in organic carbon (0.31 and 0.32%) and available
N (223.6 and 229.7 kg ha-1), medium in available P (12.9 and
13.1 kg ha-1) and high in available K (421.6 and 436.7 kg ha-1)
during late rabi 2002 and 2003 seasons, respectively. The baby corn composite
CoBC1 and radish cv. Pusa chetki and coriander cv. CO 4 were chosen for
The experiments were laid out in split plot design with three replications
on a gross plot size of 5.4x4.0 m and a net plot size of 4.5x3.0 m. Two
factors viz., crop geometry at two levels (45x25 cm and 60x19 cm) and
intercropping systems (sole baby corn, baby corn+radish and baby corn+
coriander) and integrated nutrient management practices with four levels
(N1-100% of the recommended dose of NPK (150:60:40 kg ha-1)
of baby corn; N2-50% NPK of baby corn + FYM + Azospirillum
+ phosphobacteria; N3-50% NPK of baby corn + Poultry manure
+ Azospirillum + phosphobacteria; N4-50% NPK of baby
corn + Goat manure + Azospirillum + phosphobacteria) were assigned
in sub plots. Before sowing, furrows were formed in the beds as per the
spacing treatments. The baby corn seeds were pre-treated with fungicide
(Carbendazim at the rate of 2 g kg-1 of seeds), sown in the
furrows and covered with soil. Furrows were formed in-between the two
baby corn rows and the intercrops were sown. Radish seeds were hand dibbled
at a spacing of 8 cm. Coriander seeds were rubbed against hard surface
and split well into two and sown in lines. Organic manures were applied
as per the treatment (on equal N basis) and incorporated in to the soil
uniformly. Bio-fertilizers (Azospirillum and phosphobacteria) at
the rate of 2 kg ha-1 were mixed with well-powdered FYM and
spread uniformly as per the treatment. Recommended dose of nitrogen (150
kg ha-1) as urea, 60 kg ha-1 of phosphorus as single
superphosphate and 40 kg ha-1 of potassium as muriate of potash
were applied as per the treatment schedule. Fifty percent of N and K fertilizers
along with full dose of P were applied as basal. Remaining half of the
N and K were applied as top dressing at 25 DAS. All the agronomic practices
were carried out uniformly to raise the crop.
Harvested cobs from the net plot were weighed and cob yield was recorded
from individual plots and expressed in kg ha-1. After harvest
of cobs, the baby corn stalks were harvested from the net plot area, weighed
and expressed as green fodder yield (t ha-1). Crude protein
content of baby corn fodder was computed by multiplying the N content
(estimated from the di-acid digest by micro-kjeldahl method) with the
factor 6.25 and expressed in percent. Crude fibre was estimated gravimetrically
by successive digestion and washing a weighed plant sample with dilute
acid and alkali. The material left un-dissolved was considered as crude
fibre and expressed in percentage (Goering and Vansoest, 1970). Ether
extract (an estimate of crude fats and oils) was estimated gravimetrically
by subjecting a weighed, powdered plant sample to continuous extraction
with petroleum ether at 40 to 50°C in a Soxhlet extraction apparatus
and expressed in percentage (AOAC, 1975). Mineral content was estimated
gravimetrically by using the powdered sample and expressed the values
in percentage. Nitrogen Free Extract (NFE) was calculated by subtracting
the percentage content of moisture, ether extract, crude protein, crude
fibre and ash from 100 (Pathak and Jakhmola, 1983). The data subjected
to statistical analysis as suggested by Gomez and Gomez (1984).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Green Cob Yield
Irrespective of the treatments, green cob yields were higher (6801
to 7707 kg ha-1) during late rabi 2002 season as compared with
2003 (5167 to 5608 kg ha-1). Both the seasons, crop geometry
led substantial increase in green cob yield (Table 1). Baby corn raised
at 60x19 cm (S2) produced higher cob yields over S1
(45x25 cm). The percentage of increase of S2 over S1
was 11.5 and 3.6 during late rabi 2002 and 2003 seasons, respectively.
The results of pooled analysis also indicate the same trend where the
increase was 7.9%. The increase might be due to the effective utilization
of applied nutrients increased sink capacity and higher nutrient uptake
of crop. The yield potential of baby corn is decided by the growth and
yield components. This was reflected in the present study. Khafi et
al. (2000) also reported higher yields of bajra under wider spacing.
Similar results were obtained with the fodder yield also.
No significant response was observed on green cob yield due to the intercropping
systems during the study. Non-significant results obtained in growth and
yield characters ultimately reflected in the green cob yield of baby corn
also. The similar results were also reported by Tiwari et al. (2002).
|| Effect of crop geometry, intercropping systems and INM practices
on green cob and green fodder yields of baby corn
In respect of INM treatments, it had synergistic effect on green cob
yield of baby corn during both the seasons. Combined application of inorganic
and bio-fertilizers (Azospirillum and phosphobacteria) along with
either poultry manure or goat manure (N3 and N4)
produced higher cob yield (7707 and 7668 kg ha-1) and (5598
and 5608 kg ha-1) as compared with FYM (N2) incorporated
with inorganic and bio-fertilizers (7012 and 5167 kg ha-1)
and inorganic fertilizers (N1) alone (6801 and 5173 kg ha-1)
during late rabi 2002 and 2003 seasons, respectively. Similar trend also
noticed with pooled mean data. Application of poultry manure increased
the P availability (More and Ghonshikar, 1988) through the formation of
soluble complex with organic legends increased the P uptake (Das et
al., 1991a). Transformation from existing solid phase of K to a soluble
metal complex increased the K uptake (Das et al., 1991b). Fixation
of atmospheric N and secretion of growth promoting substances of Azospirillum
and increased bacterial efficiency by phosphobacteria (Datta and Banik,
1997) combined together might have increased the growth and yield parameters
and ultimately yield of baby corn. Yield increase due to poultry manure
(Reddy and Reddy, 1999), sheep/goat manure (Ramesh, 1998), bio-fertilizers
(Mishra et al., 1998) were reported earlier. The response of INM
treatments on fodder yields was similar to cob yield.
Improved fodder quality parameters viz., crude protein, crude fibre,
ether extract, mineral content and NFE recorded during late rabi 2002 over 2003
season (Table 2-4).
Crude protein, Ether extract and NFE of fodder decreased towards maturity
whereas crude fibre and mineral content increased. Crude Protein (CP)
content was higher at 45 DAS and declined afterwards. The present results
could be attributed to increased accumulation of carbohydrates and other
structural materials such as lignin and silica with maturity of the crop
and reduction of leaf to stem ratio (leaf fractions generally have higher
CP than stem). Rakkiyappan and Krishnamoorthy (1982) also observed decrease
in CP content with the age of the crop.
||Crude protein content (%) and crude fibre (%) content of baby
corn fodder as influenced by of crop geometry, intercropping systems and
|Interaction Absent, NS: Non significant
||Effect of crop geometry, intercropping systems and INM practices
on ether extract (%) and nitrogen free extract (%) content of baby corn
|Interaction absent, NS: Non Significant
||Mineral content (%) of baby corn fodder as influenced by crop
geometry, intercropping systems and INM practices
|Interaction absent, Non Significant
Whereas, CF content was in reverse trend. These results are in close conformity
with the findings of Gill and Patil (1983) in sorghum. The decrease in EE
content in advanced stages might be attributed to the translocation of fatty
materials to the growing portion. The results are in agreement with the
findings of Raja (1996) in fodder maize. Higher mineral content at 45 DAS
than 60 DAS and at harvest was due to more accumulation of minerals at the
early stages. The present findings are in accordance with the observations
made by Rakkiyappan and Krishnamoorthy (1982) and Raja (1996) in fodder
maize. Nitrogen Free Extract (NFE) showed similar trend. This was due to
the increased production of protein resulting in lower NFE. Raja (1996)
also reported similar results.
In both the seasons, all the quality parameters of baby corn fodder were
not affected by either crop geometry or intercropping systems at any of
the stages. However, during late rabi 2002 season (60 DAS) and 2003 season
(45 DAS) ether extract content was significantly higher in S2
than S1. Sole baby corn recorded higher ether extract content
than intercropped baby corn at 45 DAS during 2003 season. Similarly during
late rabi 2002 season, NFE content varied significantly at 60 DAS and
at harvest where S2 recorded higher value than S1.
Since there was no change in growth nature of baby corn fodder, the quality
parameters did not vary significantly. Similarly, Chen et al. (1990)
did not find any variation on quality characters of maize by the spacing
The INM practices have an augmentative effect on the quality parameters
of baby corn fodder. All the three INM practices registered significantly
higher values than inorganic fertilizer alone applied (N1)
plots. During late rabi 2002 season, at harvest, 50% NPK + poultry manure
+ bio-fertilizers (Azospirillum + phosphobacteria) recorded higher
(7.08, 3.37, 6.19 and 43.77) crude protein, ether extract, mineral content
and NFE respectively when compared to N2 and N1.
However, the results are on par with N4. Between N1
and N2, FYM applied with inorganic and bio-fertilizers (Azospirillum
+ phosphobacteria) recorded greater values than N1. The results
are repetitive during rest of the stages and also during 2003 season.
However, the reverse trend was recorded with crude fiber where the highest
values (40.77) recorded with N1. Application of poultry and
goat manures improved the soil fertility environment, which led to enhanced
physiological and biochemical reaction in plants ultimately improved the
fodder quality of baby corn. The increment of quality characters due to
organic manures (Addy et al., 1987; Reddy et al., 1990)
and bio-fertilizers (Singh et al., 1993; Mehta et al., 1996)
was also documented earlier.
In the light of the results obtained, it can be concluded that baby corn
raised at 60x19 cm spacing level, along with short duration intercrops
like radish and coriander increased the yield without reducing the quality
of fodder. Compensation of 50% of NPK through organic manures (Poultry
manure/goat manure) and biofertilizers (Azospirillum and phosphobacteria)
not only improved the yield but also the quality of fodder.
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