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Agronomy 2018, 8(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8020018

Quantifying Variability in Maize Yield Response to Nutrient Applications in the Northern Nigerian Savanna

1
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Division of Soil and Water Management, KU Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 20, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium
2
Department of Soil Science, Bayero University Kano, Kano 70001, Nigeria
3
Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA), Bayero University Kano, Kano 70001, Nigeria
4
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, PMB 5320, Oyo Road, Ibadan 200001, Oyo State, Nigeria
5
International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), c/o IFDC—East & Southern Africa Division, ICIPE Compound, Duduville—Kasarani, Thika Road, Nairobi P.O. Box 30772-00100, Kenya
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 December 2017 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 February 2018 / Published: 10 February 2018
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Abstract

Diagnostic on-farm nutrient omission trials were conducted over two cropping seasons (2015 and 2016) to assess soil nutrients related constraints to maize yield in the northern Nigerian savanna agro-ecological zone and to quantify their variability. Two sets of trials were conducted side by side, one with an open pollinated maize variety (OPV) and the other one with a hybrid maize variety and each set had six equal treatments laid out in 198 farmers’ fields. The treatments comprised (i) a control, (ii) a PK (‘−N,’ without N), (iii) an NK (‘−P,’ without P), (iv) an NP (‘−K,’ without K), (v) an NPK and (vi) an NPK + S + Ca + Mg + Zn + B (‘+SMM,’ NPK plus secondary macro- and micro-nutrients). Moderate to a large variability in most soil characteristics was observed in the studied fields. Consequently, cluster analysis revealed three distinct yield-nutrient response classes common for the two types of maize varieties. These define classes were fields that have (i) no-response to any nutrient, (ii) a large response to N and P and (iii) a large response to N alone. Although overall yield performance of OPV and hybrid varieties was similar, a distinct fourth class was identified for the hybrid variety, (iv) fields with a large response to N and secondary macro- and micro-nutrients. The results indicate that the large variability in soil nutrients related constraints need to be accounted for to optimize maize yield in the northern Nigerian savanna. The development of field- and area-specific fertilizer recommendations is highly needed, using simple decision support tools that consider variable soil fertility conditions and yield responses as obtained from this study. View Full-Text
Keywords: Zea mays; yield response; northern Nigerian savanna; nutrient omission trial; multivariate cluster analysis; soil nutrient limitation Zea mays; yield response; northern Nigerian savanna; nutrient omission trial; multivariate cluster analysis; soil nutrient limitation
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Shehu, B.M.; Merckx, R.; Jibrin, J.M.; Kamara, A.Y.; Rurinda, J. Quantifying Variability in Maize Yield Response to Nutrient Applications in the Northern Nigerian Savanna. Agronomy 2018, 8, 18.

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