Combining Organic and Mineral Fertilizers for Integrated Soil Fertility Management in Smallholder Farming Systems of Kenya: Explorations Using the Crop-Soil Model FIELD

P.A. Tittonell, M. Corbeels, M.T. van Wijk, B. Vanlauwe, K.E. Giller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) technologies for African smallholders should consider (i) within-farm soil heterogeneity; (ii) long-term dynamics and variability; (iii) manure quality and availability; (iv) access to fertilizers; and (v) competing uses for crop residues. We used the model FIELD (Field-scale resource Interactions, use Efficiencies and Long term soil fertility Development) to explore allocation strategies of manure and fertilizers. Maize response to N fertilizer from 0 to 180 kg N ha¿1 (±30 kg P ha¿1) distinguished poorly responsive fertile (e.g., grain yields of 4.1¿5.3 t ha¿1 without P and of 7.5¿7.5 t ha¿1 with P) from responsive (1.0¿4.3 t ha¿1 and 2.2¿6.6 t ha¿1) and poorly responsive infertile fields (0.2¿1.0 t ha¿1 and 0.5¿3.1 t ha¿1). Soils receiving manure plus fertilizers for 12 yr retained 1.1 to 1.5 t C ha¿1 yr¿1 when 70% of the crop residue was left in the field, and 0.4 to 0.7 t C ha¿1 yr¿1 with 10% left. Degraded fields were not rehabilitated with manures of local quality (e.g., 23¿35% C, 0.5¿1.2% N, 0.1¿0.3% P) applied at realistic rates (3.6 t dm ha¿1 yr¿1) for 12 yr without fertilizers. Mineral fertilizers are necessary to kick-start soil rehabilitation through hysteretic restoration of biomass productivity and C inputs to the soil.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1511-1526
JournalAgronomy Journal
Volume100
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • western kenya
  • exploring diversity
  • resource-allocation
  • use efficiencies
  • variability
  • gradients
  • dynamics
  • manure
  • scale
  • simulation

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