Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 319468
Title Appropriate farm management practices for alleviating N and P deficiencies in low-nutrient soils of the tropics
Author(s) Smithson, P.C.; Giller, K.E.
Source Plant and Soil 245 (2002). - ISSN 0032-079X - p. 169 - 180.
Department(s) Plant Production Systems
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2002
Abstract Tropical upland regions have both the world's highest population growth rates and a preponderance of soils less suitable for agriculture. Nitrogen deficiency is almost universal, while acid infertility and the related problem of P deficiency affect more than 40 f tropical soils. Nutrient depletion, as opposed to inherent infertility, affects large areas due to continuous cropping with few inputs. Nitrogen management requires a continual supply of N that can be achieved through fertilization, green manuring, legume rotations or leguminous tree-shrub fallows. Rotations and fallows usually require foregoing one or more staple crop harvests, which is not feasible for smallholder farmers in land-limited areas. In such areas there are few options for farmers except mineral N fertilizers. Phosphorus availability can be built up in soils, but to achieve this, external inputs of inorganic P are essential. Use of P-efficient crops, or mobilisation of soil organic P by various means, are temporary solutions since they involve only offtake with no addition. Phosphorus additions may be either as soluble processed fertilizers or indigenous phosphate rocks (PRs). Most tropical PR deposits are unreactive and require processing before use. Some lower-cost options include partial acidulation, blending with soluble P sources or microbial solubilization. The relevance of microbial solubilization in particular requires testing at larger scale. There are no magic solutions to soil nutrient deficiencies or toxicities; to maintain productivity mineral fertilizers are necessary. They should be used in judicious amounts and coupled with improved organic matter management.
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