Farm nitrogen flows of four farmer field schools in Kenya

C.L. Beek, D.D. Onduru, L.N. Gachimbi, A. de Jager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Re-use of nutrients within farming systems contributes to sustainable food production in nutrient limited production systems. Re-use is established when nutrients pass through several farm compartments before they leave the farm via marketable products. In this paper re-use of nitrogen is examined as an indicator for sustainable soil fertility management. Re-use (RU, kg farm-1) was defined as the amount of nitrogen that was translocated within one farm divided by the sum of transitions between farm compartments within a farm. In 2002, a total of 101 farms belonging to 4 farmer field schools in Kenya were analysed using the NUTMON (now known as MonQI) toolbox. The farms were distributed over 4 farmer field schools located in two agro-ecological zones.RUwas positively related to the net farm income and to crop yields. However, data were scattered and often local farm conditions veiled the relation between nitrogen management strategies and farm performances. The results of this paper demonstrate that different agro-ecological zones with diverse production constraints have developed different in-farm nitrogen management strategies that are best adapted to the local conditions, but may have different environmental impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-72
JournalNutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Volume83
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • monitoring nutrient flows
  • sub-saharan africa
  • economic-performance
  • systems nutmon
  • 3 districts
  • management
  • balances
  • highlands

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