Welcome to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Research Repository
What would you like to view today?
Combining manure with mineral N fertilizer maintains maize yields: evidence from four long-term experiments in Kenya
Van de Broek, M.
Review StatusPeer Review
MetadataShow full item record
Context Crop productivity in sub-Saharan Africa cannot be substantially improved without simultaneously addressing short-term crop nutrient demand and long-term soil fertility. Integrated soil fertility management tackles both by the combined application of mineral fertilizers and organic resource inputs but few studies examined its‘ long-term effectiveness. Objective To address this knowledge gap, this study analysed maize yield trends in four long-term (31–37 cropping seasons) field experiments in Kenya with contrasting soil textures and under different climates. Methods All sites had two maize cropping seasons per year, received a base P and K fertilization and tested combinations of organic resource addition (1.2 and 4 t C ha-1 yr-1 ranging from farmyard manure, to high-quality Tithonia diversifolia and Calliandra calothyrsus material to low-quality saw dust), combined with (+N) and without (-N) mineral N fertilizer (120 kg N ha-1 season-1). General maize yield trends across sites and site specific trends were analyzed. Results Across sites, the no-input control experienced significant average maize yield reductions of 50 kg ha-1 yr-1 over the study period. In contrast, the treatment with farmyard manure +N maintained yields at both 1.2 and 4 t C ha-1 yr-1. High initial yields following additions of Tithonia and Calliandra, reduced over time. Assessment by site showed site specificity of maize yields and yield trends. For example, the two climatically favorable sites in western Kenya experienced yield gains with high quality organic resources at 4 t C ha-1 yr-1, leading to yields of up to 8 t ha-1 per season, while sites in central Kenya experienced yield losses, leading to 3.5 t ha-1 per season. Yield site specificity for ± mineral N treatments was stonger than for organic resource treatments, e.g. the clayey site in central Kenya in the end showed no yield differences between ± N, except for the 1.2 t C ha-1 yr-1 farmyard manure treatment. Yet, farmyard manure plus mineral N consistently achieved highest yields of all organic resource treatments at all sites and farmyard manure addition at 1.2 t C ha-1 yr-1 (about 5 t dry matter) was the most N-efficient treatment. Conclusions At realistic application rates, maize yield in integrated soil fertility management is best sustained by a combined application of farmyard manure and mineral N. Implications Mixed crop-livestock systems and a combined manure and mineral N application are key ingredients for sustained productivity of smallholder systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
Multi standard citation
Permanent link to this itemhttps://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12478/8224
IITA Authors ORCID
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)