SSNM: Increasing yeild through fertilizer management


To consolidate and review project outputs, identify operational constraints encountered and find recommendable solutions, and plan upcoming activities for the next cropping season, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) with partners from DA-GMA Corn, BSWM, UPLB, and SEAP- IPNI, conduct the first National Review and Planning Workshop on Site-Specific Nutrient Management (SSNM) for Maize. The activity was held on 28-30 April 2009 at the RDMIC Bldg., Visayas Avenue, Diliman Quezon City.

Present were Dr. Christian Witt, director of Southeast Asia Program for International Plant Nutrition Institute ( SEAP-IPNI ); Julie Mae Pasuquin, IPNI agronomist; Dr. Artemio Salazar, former GMA-Corn director; Dr. Gina Nilo, chairperson of the SSNM Technical Working Group (TWG); Milo delos Reyes, head secretariat of GMA Corn Program; and TWG members and SSNM Regional Focal Persons.

The workshop highlighted the presentation of results of on-farm trials from different provinces. In Region 1, a positive agronomic efficiency of the nitrogen fertilizer was obtained from the SSNM treatment, wherein 25 to 29 kg of grain yield was obtained for every kilogram of nitrogen fertilizer applied in the soil. Indigenous P and K in the soil can support low yield in corn, but this is not enough to obtain a high yield.

Nitrogen is the most limiting nutrient in corn production. Increasing the amount of N fertilizer can be an assurance of a high yield in corn, but the agronomic efficiency needs to be checked. Likewise, strategies need to be developed that will lower input cost and increase profit of farmers.

Refined SSNM fertilizer rates will be applied in all SSNM sites for the next cropping season as well as the timing of application were discussed. Dr. Witt further suggested that weather conditions should be taken into consideration during fertilizer application, especially in areas prone to disaster wherein in such cases, fertilizer splits will be done more often to optimize efficiency of fertilizer use.

Dr. Witt also presented an upcoming software featuring a state-of-the-art and user-friendly system that will help farmers develop an optimum planting density for a certain location; evaluate current management practices, determine a meaningful yield goal based on attainable yield; estimate fertilizer NPK rates required for the selected yield goal; translate fertilizer NPK rate into fertilizer sources; develop an application strategy for fertilizers (right rate, source, location and time):and to compare the expected or actual benefit of current and improved practices. The software is expected to be available before the end of the year 2009.

Furthermore, scaling up is scheduled for Regions 1, 2 and 7 while SSNM will resume for the wet season to the rest of the regions.

The program ended with the awarding of certificates to all the participants. (Edmon B. Agron)