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Phosphorus seed coating increases phosphorus uptake, early growth and yield of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.) grown on an acid sandy soil in Niger, West Africa


In pot and field experiments conducted in 1990 and 1991 on an acid sandy, phosphorus (P) deficient soil in Niger, West Africa, the effect of seed coating on seedling emergence, early growth and grain yield of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.) was studied. Seeds of pearl millet were coated with different rates (0; 0.5; 1.0; 2.0; 5.0; 10.0 mg P seed−1) and types of P fertilizers (single superphosphate, ammonium dihydrogen phosphate; monocalcium phosphate, sodium dihydrogen phosphate and sodium triphosphate). Seedling emergence was generally reduced at coating rates higher than 0.5 mg P seed−1 and prevented with single superphosphate and sodium triphosphate at rates higher than 5 mg P seed−1. No correlation was found between the pH and osmomolity of the coatings and final emergence of millet seedlings. The most favourable effect on plant growth and P content was achieved with ammonium dihydrogen phosphate (AHP) as seed coating. This was attributed to the enhancement effect of ammonium on P uptake. Compared to the untreated control dry matter production at 20 days after planting (DAP) was increased by 280%, P content per plant by 330%, total biomass at maturity by 30% and grain yield by 45%. Although seed coating with AHP may be harmful to seedlings emergence, it represents a suitable method to enhance early growth and increase yield of pearl millet.

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Rebafka, F.P., Bationo, A. & Marschner, H. Phosphorus seed coating increases phosphorus uptake, early growth and yield of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.) grown on an acid sandy soil in Niger, West Africa. Fertilizer Research 35, 151–160 (1993).

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Key words

  • emergence
  • pearl millet
  • P seed coating
  • plant development
  • P uptake
  • West Africa