Host-parasite dynamics of Sorghum bicolor and Striga hermonthica - The influence of soil organic matter amendments of different C:N ratio

Ayongwa, G.C.; Stomph, T.J.; Kuyper, T.W.


The effect of organic amendments on the interactions between Striga hermonthica and a sorghum host was studied in a field experiment during three cropping seasons, following a three-factorial design with (i) bare fallow versus continuous cropping, (ii) two Strigahermonthica infection levels and (iii) five organic matter levels, a single inorganic fertiliser treatment of 120 kg N ha-1 and a control. The effects of two different cotton by-products and their mixtures on sorghum yield were well described by their N-mineralisation pattern. The impact of organic amendments in the sorghum production system was directly related to N-mineralisation in the three cropping seasons. There was an increasing negative effect of organic matter on S. hermonthica as the quality of the applied material increased. The emerged numbers of S. hermonthica were well described by N-release after one month, while S. hermonthica biomass and sorghum biomass were well described by N-release after three months. As a stand-alone measure, addition of low-quality organic matter is disadvantageous in cropping systems with high S. hermonthica seed densities, as it does not improve sorghum performance compared to no addition of organic matter, while S. hermonthica numbers increase. Implications for integrated soil fertility and S. hermonthica management under different infection levels of S. hermonthica are discussed