Improving Maize Yield and Nitrogen Use Efficiency Using Spectral Properties of Leaves for Need-based Nitrogen Management

Main Article Content

Priscilla Osei Owusu
Joseph Ofori
Christiana Amoatey
Dominic Kwadwo Anning


There is a spiral increase in maize consumption in Ghana due to high population growth and changing consumer preferences. However, maize yield in the country is declining partly due to poor soil fertility and fertilizer management, resulting in low nitrogen use efficiency. A field experiment was therefore conducted at the Soil and Irrigation Research Centre, University of Ghana, Kpong during the 2016 cropping season to evaluate the effect of nitrogen management options on growth, yield and nitrogen use efficiency of maize. The experiment was laid out in a split plot design with three replicates. Variety and nitrogen (N) management were the main and sub plot factors, respectively. The varieties were; 1. Aburohemaa (V1) 2. Abontem (V2) 3. Obaatanpa (V3). 4. Omankwa (V4), while the nitrogen management levels included; 1. no N application (control, N0), 2. Conventional practice, Conv (150 kg N ha-1) 3. Leaf Colour Chart, LCC (75 kg N ha-1) and 4. Soil Plant Analysis Development meter, SPAD (75 kg N ha-1). The results revealed that LCC and SPAD meter in maize nitrogen-based management reduced nitrogen fertilizer input by 50% without significantly affecting the growth, grain yield and nitrogen use efficiency of maize. Maize varieties significantly differed in terms of growth rate, yielding potential, N uptake and N use efficiency. The study recommended LCC to maize farmers since it is relatively cheap, easy to use and saved 50% N fertilizer input.

Leaf colour chart, maize variety, soil plant analysis development, nitrogen uptake, nitrogen use efficiency.

Article Details

How to Cite
Owusu, P., Ofori, J., Amoatey, C., & Anning, D. (2019). Improving Maize Yield and Nitrogen Use Efficiency Using Spectral Properties of Leaves for Need-based Nitrogen Management. Asian Journal of Research in Crop Science, 4(4), 1-10.
Original Research Article


Food and Agricultural Organisation Statistical Database, FAOSTAT. Food and Agricultural Statistical Pocketbook; 2015.

Ministry of Food and Agriculture, MoFA. Agriculture in Ghana; 2015.

He P, Li ST, Jin JY, Wang HT, Li CJ, Wang YL, Cui RZ. Performance of an optimized nutrient management system for double-cropped wheat-maize rotation in North-Central China. Agronomy Journal. 2009;101:1489-96.

Asghari HR, Cavagnaro TR. Arbuscular mycorrhizas enhance plant interception of leached nutrients. Functional Plant Biology. 2011;38:219-26.

Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO). Fertilizer use by crop in Ghana. Rome; 2005.

International Fertilizer Research Center, IFDC. Local Organisation part of food security group; 2002.

Bundy LG. Side dressing nitrogen: Useful soils? Proc of the 2006 Winsconsin Fertilizer, Aglime & Pest Management Conference. 2006;45:39-43.

Watson DJ. The dependence of net assimilation rate on leaf-area index. Annals of Botany. 1958;22(1):37-54

Tel DA, Hagatey M. Methodology in Soil Chemical Analyses. In Soil and Plant analyses. Study guide for Agricultural laboratory directors and technologist working in tropical regions. IITA, Nigeria. 1984;119-138.

Amanullah, Khattak RA, Khalil SK. Effects of plant density and N on phenology and yield of maize. Journal of Plant Nutrition. 2009;32:246–60.

Imbran S, Arif M, Khan A, Khan MA, Shah W, Latif A. Advances in crop science and technology. Effect of Nitrogen Levels and Plant Populations on Yield and Yield Components of Maize. Advances in Crop Science and Technology. 2015;3(2):3-9.

Maiti D, Das DK, Karak T, Banerjee M. Management of nitrogen through the use of leaf color chart (LCC) and Soil Plant Analysis Development (SPAD) or chloro-phyll meter in rice under irrigated ecosystem. The Scientific World Journal. 2004;4:838-46.

Dogor MK. The effect of fertilizer formula-tion on yield component and yield of hybrid maize (Zea mays L.) varieties in the guinea savana zone of Ghana. Thesis submitted to the Department of Crop Science, University of Ghana in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Masters of Philosophy in Crop Science. 2013;1-17.

Enujeke EC. Effects of variety and spacing on growth characters of hybrid maize. Asian Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development. 2013;3(5):296.

Kumar V, Singh AK, Jat SL, Parihar CM, Pooniya V, Sharma S, Singh B. Influence of site specific nutrient management on growth and yield of maize (Zea mays L.) under conservation tillage. Indian Journal of Agronomy. 2014;59(4):657-60.

Buah SSJ, Mwinkaara S. Response of sorghum to nitrogen fertilizer and plant density in the Guinea Savanna Zone. Journal of Agronomy, 2009;8(4):124-30.

Swamy M, Umesh MR, Ananda N, Shanwad UK, Amaregouda A, Manjunath N. Precision nitrogen management for rabi sweet corn, (Zea mays saccharata L.) through decision support tools. Journal of Farm Science. 2016;29(1):14-18.

Haefele SM, Jabbar SMA, Siopongco JDLC, Tirol-Padre A, Amarante ST, Cruz PS, Cosico WC. Nitrogen use efficiency in selected rice (Oryza sativa L.) genotypes under different water regimes and nitrogen levels. Field Crops Research. 2008;107(2): 137-46.

Garcia BA, Mollah S, Ueberheide BM, Busby SA, Muratore TL, Shabanowitz J, Hunt DF. Chemical derivatization of histones for facilitated analysis by mass spectrometry. Nature protocols. 2007;2(4): 933.

Reena-Dhyani VC, Charturvedi S, Gouda HS. Growth yield and nitrogen use efficiency in wheat as influenced by leaf colour chart and chlorophyll meter based Nitrogen management. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences. 2017;6(12):1698- 1704.