IFDC Report, Volume 14, No. 4

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This publication provides an overview of a report conducted by IFDC on Zimbabwean phosphate rock and alternative fertilizers. The study aims to identify and study phosphorus transformations from nonconventional Dorowa phosphate rock, focusing on its effectiveness in promoting phosphorus uptake and crop growth. The research includes greenhouse and laboratory soil incubation experiments conducted at IFDC Headquarters. The greenhouse experiment used Dorowa phosphate rock compacted with triple superphosphate, urea, and potassium chloride to create a phosphorus fertilizer source. The results showed that this fertilizer source was equally effective as single superphosphate regarding phosphorus availability. However, finely ground Dorowa phosphate rock mixed with urea and potassium chloride did not perform better than the control. The laboratory soil incubation experiments aim to characterize the dissolution of nonconventional Dorowa phosphate rock and develop a model to predict its dissolution. The research also investigates the effect of fertilizer materials and soil properties on crop response. Field data collected in Zimbabwe will test the models developed from this research. Like many other African countries, Zimbabwe faces challenges in using conventional water-soluble phosphorus fertilizers due to their high cost. Therefore, alternative phosphorus fertilizers, such as partially acidulated phosphate rock and compacted fertilizer materials, must be explored for their agronomic and economic effectiveness in crop production. The report highlights the importance of developing more cost-effective phosphorus fertilizers suitable for African countries like Zimbabwe, where some agricultural soils are phosphorus-deficient. The research findings aim to improve fertilizer practices and crop production in the region.
Phosphate minerals, Greenhouses, Fertilizers