Determinants of fertilizer microdosing-induced yield increment of pearl millet on an acid sandy soil

Ibrahim, A and Abaidoo, R C and Fatondji, D and Opoku, A (2016) Determinants of fertilizer microdosing-induced yield increment of pearl millet on an acid sandy soil. Experimental Agriculture, 52 (04). pp. 562-578. ISSN 0014-4797

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Recent studies have reported the benefits of fertilizer microdosing in increasing crop yields in low input cropping systems. Little information is however available on the mechanisms underlying this effect. The objective of this study was therefore to explore the root-based mechanisms governing the growth enhancing phenomena of the fertilizer microdosing technology. A two-year experiment was conducted at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Research Station in Niger. Four treatments comprising (i) 2 g hill−1 of diammonuim phosphate (DAP), (ii) 6 g hill−1 of compound fertilizer NPK, (iii) broadcasting of 200 kg ha−1 of compound fertilizer NPK (recommended rate) and (iv) unfertilized control was arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications. On average, fertilizer microdosing treatments (2-g DAP hill−1 and 6-g NPK hill−1) achieved 86% and 79% of the grain yields recorded from broadcasting of 200-kg NPK ha−1, respectively, in 2013 and 2014. The leaf area index and leaf chlorophyll content significantly increased with fertilizer microdosing at the early stage of millet growth. At the same stage, fertilizer microdosing enhanced the lateral root length density in the topsoil (0–20 cm) by 72% and 40% at respective lateral distances of 25 cm and 50 cm from the centre of the hill compared with broadcast of 200-kg NPK ha−1. Fertilizer microdosing did not significantly change soil pH in the root zone. It is concluded that the positive effect of fertilizer microdosing in increasing millet yield results from the better exploitation of soil nutrients due to early lateral roots proliferation within the topsoil.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fertilizer microdosing, crop yields, cropping systems, crop management, soil, pearl millet
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets > Pearl Millet
Others > Soil
Others > Fertilizers
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2017 06:50
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2017 06:50
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: We are grateful to Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) for PhD grant to the first author. We thank Prof. Guéro Yadji for reviewing the draft version of this manuscript. We are also grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on the manuscript.

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