If yesterday was the day for BIOCHAR, today’s topic of the sessions about soil fertility and nutrient management was MAIZE. From strategies to outbalance nutrient insufficiencies for maize production in Kenya, to fertiliser optimisation under weed competition and the economic analysis of maize production, many aspects have been covered.
Jacobo Arango and Stefan Burkart presented their researches about Brachiaria Humidicola.
Godfrey Nambafu summed up his results about the strategies adopted by African indigenous plants to cope with phosphorus deficient soils.
Personally, I really enjoyed Patrick van Damme’s research results about Sesbania Rostrata, which used to grow on abandoned rice fields and can be cropped and then plowed into the soil in alternation with rice thanks to its beneficial effect through nitrogen fixation.
Later on, I went to the first oral presentation about the same subject and attended Enos Onyuka talking about the organic carbon input into the soil by plant residues of African indigenous plants. He also stressed the potential for increasing the organic carbon availability in AIV by the use of appropriate harvesting techniques.
Another highlight in this oral presentation was the (actually spontaneously filling in) presentation of Marcos Lana about a new way of managing the homogenous spread of fertilizer on big scale farms of sugar cane by overlapping information about nutrient insufficiency in plants and areas of compacted soil to optimize the fertilizing process. This concept supports the decision-making process and could help save fertilizer, reduce pollution and costs and increase efficiency.
The question about the applicability on small scale farms was raised, but obviously this strategy “only makes sense on big scale farms”. However, the moderator noted that systems for small-scale farms, i.e. about the nutrient status, are currently being developed.