How much manure for maize?

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What is the correct ratio of manure application per hole when planting maize?

An acre of land requires about 2.5 tonnes of manure, which is well-composited (well-composited manure is dark brown in colour, has a sweet smell and a crumbly structure). Manure should be incorporated into the soil as soon as it is ready. Ideally, manure should be fully worked into the soil to ensure it mixes completely. In lighter soils, the manure should be mixed deeper into the soil (up to 20cm). In clay soils, manure can be applied on the surface like mulch, which helps to stimulate the microorganisms in the soil. Farmers can add some mulching material such as dry grass or plant leaves to prevent loss of nutrients from the manure.

Build soil fertility gradually

Do not expect to see good results in the first year of manure application. The uptake of nutrients from manure is not as fast as when you apply chemical fertilizer. It therefore takes time before you start seeing good results in terms of yields after manure application. It is always a good farming practice to keep on adding manure every year when preparing the land for planting. After or even before ploughing, spread the manure across the field and then plough. This will ensure the manure is well incorporated into the soil, and reduce nutrient loss.

Compost may not be enough

As for the rate of application  of manure for every hole while planting, you can apply one handful to every hole. The effect on the maize will, however, be very minimal since maize is a heavy feeder; therefore we would advise that when using compost for the first time,  you can add a bottle top of concentrated organic fertilizer to boost the maize growth because the amount of nutrients in one handful of manure is very little and may not help the maize in meeting its nutritional requirements during the growth phase. This is one reason we would advise you to first build the fertility of your soil by adding compost for several years before you can fully rely on compost for fertilization.

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