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This project was carried out at government reservation area (GRA) Benin city Edo state Nigeria. It was a field experiments with four treatments replicated four times. This was carried out in plot of land measuring 3.1m by 4.1m. 1kg of poultry manure was added in treatment 2 and 3. 15.78g of NPK 15:15:15 representing 100kg/ha was applied in  treatment 1 and 3. The effects on height , girth , leaf area , leaf number and nodulation of cowpea plants and also it’s effects on  rhizobia bacteria  was tested.  No significant difference was found in the height, girth, leaf area and leaf numbers of the cowpea plants from the above treatments. However better performance was observed in the combined treatment of N.P.K and poultry manure although not significantly different from others. This was followed by sole application of poultry manure. The nodulation of cowpea roots was found to be enhanced by the combined treatment, and sole application of poultry manure which was significantly different from sole application of N.P.K and control. Microbial count of the rhizobial bacteria was also carried out. Combined treatment of   N.P.K and poultry manure gave maximum number of four isolates with microbial count of 61. Sole application of poultry manure and N.P.K gave 3 isolates each with microbial count of 46 and 33 respectively while control gave only 2 isolates with microbial count of 23.



Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) is a leguminious crop with a very vast importance and plays an active role in maintaining the ecosystem, nutrient requirement  and the economy of many countries. A considerable amount of cowpea of  more than 5.4 million tons  are produced in the world annually with Africa producing nearly 5.2 million tons and Nigeria recorded as the greatest producers accounting for about 61% of cowpea production in Africa and 58% of the world cowpea  production [IITA, 2009]. According to Wikipedia on Cowpea (2012), and IITA,( 2009); cowpea is one of the most important food legume crop in the semi arid tropics covering Asia, Africa, Southern Europe, and Central America and originated and domesticated in Southern Africa and Asia. [wikipedia/cowpea, 2012. IITA, 2009]. However, some constraint such as agro-ecological  constraint, cultivation in marginal and sub marginal land, unpredictable and poor distributed rainfall, lack of soil fertility, seasonal constraint, low productivity, susceptible to pest and disease, flower shedding, tendril formation, lack of adaptive high yielding varieties have been reported to  inhibit production of cowpea in some area [Maria,2008]. The practice of shift cultivation to improve soil fertility and enhance production can no longer be sustained due to rapid increase in the world population. Therefore it is necessary to device an improved ways by which the soil fertility can be improved and sustained within the posible shortest time to ensure continual  productivity.[ Ayoola 2007]. The use of cover crop such as cowpea have been known to improve the physical , chemical and biological properties of soil. NPK, a mineral fertilizer produced artificially consisting of equal proportion of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium which are primary macro minerals essential for optimum growth and development of plants. And also used to enhance the productivity of soil. Poultry manure is an organic manure composed of feacal waste from domesticated birds [poultry] and wood shavings which is added to the soil to enhance the biological , physical and nutrient status of the soil. Rhizobia are group of bacteria that forms association with the legumes and fix free atmospheric nitrogen to form useable by plants [Ovstyna,2005]. These organisms are usually enhanced by the presence of leguminious plants and organic matter in the soil [FAO, 2005].  Plants obtain nutrient from two natural sources i.e organic matter and inorganic  minerals. Organic matter e.g poultry manure release its minerals to the soil through decomposition [FAO,2005]. In the decomposition process, both the soil nutrient and organism present in the soil is increased[Ingham,2000]  And according to them, only carefully selected diversified cropping system or well managed mixed crop livestock system are able to maintain a balance in nutrient  and organic matter supply and removal. Changes in land use associated with deforestation and inappropriate land use management has had a negative impact on approximately 2 billion hectares of agricultural land [Pinstrup-Anderson and Pandy Lorch 1998]. Hence, need to improve the soil with organic and inorganic manure to bring about increased productivity. Some other researchers said that land degradation result in the productive decline of soil and  can be attributed to changes in the physical, chemical [minerals], and biological attributes from some ideal state brought about by natural or anthropogenic influences [Latham 1994, Lal 1990].

1.2       OBJECTIVE

The objective of the study is to verify the effects of poultry manure, N:P:K: 15:15;15 and N.P.K/poultry manure combined on growth and production  of  cowpea as well as on the  soil bacteria (rhizobia).