News and knowhow for farmers

Combining manure and fertilizer doubles crop yields

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Maize and bean farmers can increase their yields two-fold (200 per cent) by applying both manure and mineral fertilizer on their crops.

This can be achieved by applying mineral fertilizers at two levels; 2.5 bags of triple super phosphate (TSP) plus 4.5 bags of calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) per hectare or five bags TSP plus nine bags of CAN per hectare.

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Cattle manure can be applied at two levels; five tonnes per hectare or 10 tonnes per hectare.  The recommended maize variety to grow in this case is hybrid H 512, which is usually planted as a sole (mono) crop during the long rains (March – June). While the recommended bean variety is ‘Mwezi m oja’ is grown during the short rains, on residual fertility remaining from fertilizer and manure applied during the preceding maize growing season.

A combination of the two treatments at both rates of manure and fertilizer application is done once a year prior to sowing. At the land preparation stage, maize stovers are incorporated into the soil to enhance the manure and boost soil fertility. CAN is applied on the seventh week as a top dress.

According to a research conducted by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, smallholder farmers have problems producing enough food for household consumption due to low availability of nutrients particularly phosphorus and nitrogen. The decline in crop yields have led to increased food insecurity, poverty and reduced usage of added nutrients on the farm with 3.4m Kenyans staring at starvation in 2018.

 

 

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