GROWTH AND YIELD RESPONSE OF COWPEA (VIGNA UNGUICULATA L.) IN SODIC SOIL AMENDED WITH MARINE GYPSUM, BIOCHAR AND BIOINOCULANTST. Ravi Teja, A. Alagesan, S. Avudaithai, J. Ejilane and S. Paul Sebastian
Abiotic stresses adversely affect the global food security of a fast-growing populace. In order, to achieve global food security and increase agriculture production, there is a considerable need to restore barren and degraded lands. Salt affected soils are one such degraded lands, which can be brought into productive soils by applying gypsum. However, due to shortage of natural mined gypsum and phospogypsum, there is an opportunity for the other kind of gypsum from marine source from sea salt manufacturing industry as a byproduct. This form of gypsum is commonly available from the marine based salt industry, which is readily available in coastal areas. Prosopis wood biochar was processed and required quantity of biochar is calibrated and applied as band placement to the ridge of field. In addition, bioinoculants viz., Rhizobium and PGPR enhances the growth and development of crops in sodic soils. Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) variety Co (CP) 7, which is medium sensitivity to sodicity, is taken as a test plant. A field experiment was conducted during summer 2021 using Randomized block design with eight treatments and replicated thrice. Treatments include different combinations of organic sources, i.e., Biochar, PGPR, Rhizobium with Unamended, and marine gypsum reclaimed sodic soils. Plant biometric observations and growth parameters were recorded and analyzed at vegetative, flowering and maturity stages. Experimental results revealed that sodic soil amended with Marine Gypsum (50% GR) + Biochar+ PGPR+ Rhizobium (T8) significantly enhanced the plant growth characters, i.e., plant height, dry matter production, yield and yield attributes of cowpea.