Integrated use of lime with organic and chemical fertilizers is considered as a good approach for sustainable crop production under acidic soils. Vermicompost (VC) and chemical phosphorus (P) fertilizer when used with lime play a vital role in enhancing productivity of acidic soils. Field experiments were conducted for two consecutive cropping seasons of 2015 and 2016 to evaluate the effects of lime, VC and chemical P fertilizer on yield and yield components of maize in Ebantu District, Western highlands of Ethiopia. The experiments were laid out in a randomized complete block design as a factorial combination of two lime rates (0, and 4 t CaCO3 ha-1), three VC rates (0, 2.5 and 5 t VC ha-1) and three chemical P rates (0, 20 and 40 kg P ha-1) which were replicated three times. Relevant crop parameters were measured following standard procedures. Tasseling days (102), silking days (109), highest leaf area index (5.91), plant height (3.48 m), cob length (47.83 cm), number of grain per cob (644) and above ground dry biomass yield (22 t ha-1) were exhibited by 5 t ha-1 VC and 40 kg ha-1 chemical P fertilizer with lime of 0 and 4 t ha-1 while the highest 1000-seed weight (508 g), grain yield (4.87 t ha-1) and harvest index (24%) were obtained at 2.5 t ha-1 VC and 40 kg P ha-1 with lime. Integrated application of organic and chemical fertilizers with lime amended the acidic soils and improved its fertility which in turn increased crop yields. Combined use of VC at 2.5 t ha-1 and chemical P fertilizer at 20 kg ha-1 with lime at 4 t ha-1 is economically optimum and could be recommended for reclaiming soil acidity and improve nutrients for maize as it enhanced grain yield and yield components of maize plant in strongly acidic soils for the two consecutive years pooled together.
Key words: Maize yield, lime, Vermicompost (VC), phosphorus (P), integrated application.