A pot culture experiment was conducted with TNAU maize hybrid CO 6 at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore to evaluate the effect of application of zinc and zinc solubilizing bacteria on the growth and productivity of maize in calcareous soil. The experimental soil was a black calcareous soil with clay loam texture, which belongs to Periyanaickenpalayam series (Typic Haplustert). The experiment was laid out in factorial completely randomized design (FCRD) with three factors replicated thrice. The treatments consisted of two sources of Zn (ZnSO4 and Zn3(PO4) 2) with three levels (0, 5, 7.5 kg Zn ha-1), with and without zinc solubilizing bacteria (ZSB). Among the sources, ZnSO4 performed better than Zn3(PO4) 2 with respect to growth, yield attributes and yield. Increasing levels of Zn had a favourable influence on maize crop and highest growth and yield parameters were recorded with 7.5 kg Zn ha1. With the application of 7.5 kg Zn ha-1, 11.3% mean grain yield increase was observed over no Zn application. ZSB inoculation increased the mean grain and stover yield of maize by 4.2% over the treatments without ZSB inoculation. Considering the overall performance, application of 7.5 kg Zn ha-1 as ZnSO4 along with ZSB was found to be the best Zn management strategy for enhancing maize growth and productivity in calcareous soil.
Key words : Calcareous soil, Zinc, Maize, Growth, Yield.