Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Farming News .




FARM NEWS
Fertilizer in small doses yields higher returns for less money
by Staff Writers
Urbana IL (SPX) Mar 10, 2014


This shows farmland in Zimbabwe. Image courtesy Teresa Barnes.

Crop yields in the fragile semi-arid areas of Zimbabwe have been declining over time due to a decline in soil fertility resulting from mono-cropping, lack of fertilizer, and other factors. In collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), University of Illinois researchers evaluated the use of a precision farming technique called "microdosing," its effect on food security, and its ability to improve yield at a low cost to farmers.

"Microdosing involves applying a small, affordable amount of fertilizer with the seed at planting time or as top dressing three to four weeks after emergence," explained U of I agricultural economist Alex Winter-Nelson.

"So, instead of spreading fertilizer over the entire field, microdosing uses fertilizer more efficiently and ultimately improves productivity. Our research shows that smallholder farmers' investment in microdosing has really unlocked the power of chemical fertilizers in some of the low-rainfall areas of Zimbabwe."

Training is the key to adoption of the technique. "About 75 percent of households receiving microdosing training used fertilizer in 2011," said Winter-Nelson.

"This compares to less than 25 percent of households that had not received training. Another way of looking at it is that training in microdosing raised the probability of adoption by 30 to 35 percentage points. Knowledge of microdosing changed people's attitudes about fertilizer. Those who had training generally disagreed with the common notion that fertilizer is not worth its price or that it burns crops."

Winter-Nelson said that there are some hurdles to overcome, however. "Sustaining and expanding the benefits of microdosing technology will require efforts to ensure that private agrodealers are able to stock the product in a timely manner and to package it in a manner that smallholder farmers find useful," he said. "This is complicated by the financial capacities of agrodealers and by difficulty in projecting fertilizer demand, which varies with rainfall.

"We also need to work on extending training to underserved areas and to train extension personnel in low-rainfall areas," he said.

"Female-headed households were significantly less likely to adopt microdosing than others, possibly reflecting labor shortages or difficulties accessing fertilizer. Understanding the particular constraints that female farmers face and adapting the methods or the training to their circumstances could also help extend adoption of the technique."

The research data were collected via a structured household survey in eight districts in semi-arid areas with additional information about fertilizer availability and demand from key informant interviews with local extension service providers, non-governmental organizations, and agrodealers.

Focus group discussions were also utilized. The household survey included questions about assets, cropping patterns, agricultural production, training in microdosing, extension techniques, and fertilizer use and adoption, with particular attention paid to management practices and output on cereal plots two previous cropping seasons.

"What was particularly encouraging from the data is that, when comparing the costs of research, development, and promotion of microdosing in Zimbabwe to the gains achieved through a 30 percent adoption rate and an estimated productivity effect, the data suggest an internal rate of return on the investment in microdosing of over 40 percent," Winter-Nelson said. "And that's a good motivation to continue to try to get more farmers in Zimbabwe to try microdosing."

"Impact of Fertilizer Microdosing Research and Development in Semi-arid Zimbabwe" was produced for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. Other contributors to the report are Jayne L. Stack, Tarisayi Pedzisa, and Brighton M. Mvumi from the University of Zimbabwe.

.


Related Links
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





FARM NEWS
Farmstar Expert opens new horizons, incorporating UAV Data
Paris, France (SPX) Mar 06, 2014
In 2014, Airbus Defence and Space, Arvalis - Institut du vegetal and Delta Drone will explore the potential offered by image and data acquired from sensors carried on-board fixed and rotary wing UAVs. Such addition of UAV data could lead to the optimisation of Farmstar Expert's crop diagnostic and precision agriculture service offering. In the longer term, it could open up new prospects go ... read more


FARM NEWS
NASA-JAXA Launch Mission to Measure Global Rain, Snow

NASA Building Four Spacecraft to Study Magnetic Reconnection

Counting Down to GPM

Sharp-Eyed Proba-V Works Around The Clock

FARM NEWS
McMurdo Announces Global Availability of Maritime Fleet Management Software

Fifth Boeing GPS IIF Spacecraft Sends Initial Signals from Space

Russia to deploy up to 7 Glonass ground stations outside of national territory in 2014

Northrop Grumman Awarded U.S. Military Contract for Navigation Systems

FARM NEWS
Australian PM says too much forestry 'locked up'

Pine forest particles appear out of thin air, influence climate

UNEP launches global platform to protect forests

Massive logging leaves deep scars in Eastern Europe

FARM NEWS
Boeing, South African Airways Explore Ways for Farmers to Grow More Sustainable Biofuel Crops

MSU advances algae's viability as a biofuel

Entomologists update definitions to tackle resistance to biotech crops and pesticides

Plants convert energy at lightning speed

FARM NEWS
Sunpreme Launches Premium Solar 2.0 Maxima GxB Solar Modules

ReneSola Provides High-Efficiency Modules to 11.7MW Solar Project in Italy

Unirac Supports Collegiate Solar Decathlon Sponsored by US DoE

JA Solar to Supply 7.8MW of Square Mono Modules to British Solar Renewables

FARM NEWS
Taming hurricanes

Wind farms can tame hurricanes: scientists

Draft report finds no reliable link between wind farms and health effects

Czech wind power generation up 'disappointing' 15 percent in 2013

FARM NEWS
Your money or your life: coal miner's dilemma mirrors China's

Societal Benefits of Fossil Energy to be at Least 50 Times Greater than Perceived Costs of Carbon

Goldman Sachs pulls out from Pacific coal export project

Colombia stops Drummond coal shipments over environmental row

FARM NEWS
Dalai Lama asks China to ease censorship

Art with a punch: China's Liu Bolin

China two-child policy not imminent: official

Detained China activist seriously ill: lawyer




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.