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Open AccessCase Report

Partial Acidulation of Rock Phosphate for Increased Productivity in Organic and Smallholder Farming

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Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Ackerstrasse 113, Postfach 219, CH-5070 Frick, Switzerland
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bioRe Association India, 5th km mile stone Mandleshwar road, Kasrawad 451228, M.P., India
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Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich, Universitätstrasse 2, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020607
Received: 13 December 2019 / Revised: 9 January 2020 / Accepted: 13 January 2020 / Published: 14 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
There is a need to investigate and identify locally available organic substrates with acidifying potential, which can be used as an additive in rock phosphate (RP)-organic material composting mixtures. This paper reviews attempts to increase P availability in the context of smallholder, low-input and organic farming, and presents a case study from Central India that used a participatory approach to address P deficiency issues in cotton-based organic systems. Study was conducted from 2010 to 2014 through 61 on-farm trials and investigated the agronomic effectiveness of buttermilk-acidulated RP compost. The application of buttermilk-acidulated RP manure resulted in higher yields of cotton in all field trials and higher yields of soybean in all but one field trials. While on majority of the farms (18 out of 28), wheat yields increased with the application of buttermilk-acidulated RP compost, a quarter of the field trials (7 out of 28) exhibited yields lower than farmers’ practices. The study showed that it was possible to develop a locally adoptable solution to an agronomic constraint using locally available resources including the indigenous knowhow. Buttermilk proved to be an effective acidulating agent that can be added to RP-amended compost.
Keywords: phosphorus; organic agriculture; smallholder farming; partial acidulation of rock phosphate; participatory technology development; buttermilk phosphorus; organic agriculture; smallholder farming; partial acidulation of rock phosphate; participatory technology development; buttermilk
MDPI and ACS Style

Cicek, H.; Bhullar, G.S.; Mandloi, L.S.; Andres, C.; Riar, A.S. Partial Acidulation of Rock Phosphate for Increased Productivity in Organic and Smallholder Farming. Sustainability 2020, 12, 607.

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