Verifying the potential use of inorganic and organic fertilizers and their combinations in small holder maize production farms in trans Nzoia District

Maize is grown by both small and large scale farmers in Trans Nzoia district, North Rift Kenya to provide food and cash. Currently the productivity of maize is low as a result of continuous cropping, use of inadequate fertiliser inputs, poor organic fertiliser quality and inappropriate combinations of organic and inorganic fertilisers. In 1997 trials were set up at two sites in the district, Kipsaina and Suwerwa to verify the benefits of combinations of organic and inorganic fertilisers from other regions. Also the trials provided an opportunity to educate farmers on collection, storage and use of farm yard manures (FYM). Six treatments were tested on farmers' fields as farmer -extension - researcher managed trials. Three combinations of organic/ inorganic fertilisers were verified against Fertiliser Use Recommendation Project (FURP) and research recommendations for the area. The soils were strongly acidic to moderately acidic (pH 4.9 to pH 6.0). Most farmers had marginal amounts of exchangeable bases (K, Ca, Mg and Mn). Results clearly indicated soils had phosphorus and nitrogen deficiencies. Most of farmyard manure used exhibited nutrient variation from farmer to farmer. All the FYM's had very low P content ranging from 0.07 kg P f1 to 1.3 kg P fl. The FYM samples contained more than 23 kg Nfl, an amount normally present in high quality cattle manure. By 1998 all participating farmers had learned that the quality of their manures could be improved by keeping their FYM collections under trees and covering with leaves. Maize yields from FURP recommended treatment and any treatment where FYM was mixed with some form of inorganic fertiliser gave yields that were comparable to maize yields obtained from the recommended inorganic fertiliser rate. The treatments had similar results for two years giving farmers choices on how to use the right fertiliser and fertiliser/ manure combinations on their maize, while improving the quality of their impoverished soils.
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Participatory technology development by small holders in Kenya: Proceedings of the 2nd scientific conference of the soil management and legume research network projects, Gachene, C. K.Muyekho, F. N.Onyango, M.Mose, L.Magenya, O..- Nairobi: KARI-Legume Res
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KARI-NARL Library(NARL Repository)
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631.4 MUR
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