|Nutrient Expert for improved fertilizer recommendations
for maize in sub Saharan Africa
Yet sharing best practices with smallholder farmers, who often have limited resources to invest in their livelihoods and who number in the hundreds of millions in China alone, is a daunting prospect.
In a report in the journal Nature, the University of Pennsylvania’s Zhengxia Dou, professor of agricultural systems in the School of Veterinary Medicine, teamed with colleagues from China Agricultural University and other institutions in sharing the successful implementation of a long-term, broad-scale intervention that both improved yields and reduced fertilizer application across China.
To determine the best ways of meeting sustainable productivity demand, researchers in the current study conducted more than 13,000 field trials testing what they call an integrated soil-crop system management program, or ISSM, a model that helps determine which crop variety, planting date and density, fertilizer use, and other strategies will work best in a given climate and soil type. The tests were done with maize, rice, and wheat.
To gain a deeper understanding of the current performance of Chinese farmers, the researchers conducted a survey of 8.6 million farmers from 1,944 counties across the nation.
The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) sub-Saharan Africa Program (IPNI sub-Saharan Africa c/o IFDC – East & Southern Africa Division ICIPE Compound Duduville – Kasarani, Nairobi, Kenya) has released 4 years ago (2014, 114 pages) an extension handbook for fertilizer management in smallholder farming in sub-Saharan Africa.