Long-term Effects of Integrated Soil Fertility Management Practices on Soil Chemical Properties in the Sahel

Joint application of mineral and organic fertilizers and incorporation of legumes into cropping systems, known as integrated soil fertility management (ISFM), has improved short-term crop productivity in sub-Saharan Africa. Little research exists, however, on the effectiveness of long-term ISFM in improving soil quality and productivity.This study determined the long-term effects of different ISFM treatments on soil chemical properties and OM dynamics up to 20 cm soil depth at a long-term research site at Saria,Burkina Faso. The ISFM treatments applied from 1960 to 2008 included broadcasted fertilizer (100 kg ha−1 14-23-14 (NPK) with 50 kg ha−1 urea; and NPK with an additional 50 kg ha−1 urea and 50 kg ha−1 KCl) supplemented with crop residue retention, and with manure application at 5000 or 40000 kg ha−1. In addition, continuous cropping of Sorghum bicolor (sorghum) was compared to yearly rotation between sorghum and Vigna unguiculata (cowpea). The large manure rate (40,000 kg ha−1) supplement was most effective in buffering fertilizer-application induced pH decline and increasing grain yield, soil carbon (C), nitrogen (N),and phosphorus(P)concentrations (p < 0.05). Manure application also enhanced the microbial cycling and retention of C and N microbial byproducts compared to other fertilizer treatments, as indicated by C and N X-ray Absorption Near EdgeStructure(XANES)spectroscopies. Legume-cereal cropping led to increased abundance of C and N functional groups indicative of reduced OM breakdown compared to the continuous cropping system. Supplemental application of manure with mineral fertilizers under mixed cereal-legume cropping was found to be most effective in improving long-term soil fertility and crop productivity in the Sahel.
Fertilizers, Productivity
Alexis M. Adams, Adam W. Gillespie, Gurbir S. Dhillon, Gourango Kar, Colin Minielly, Saidou Koala, Badiori Ouattara, Anthony A. Kimaro, Andre Bationo, Jeff J. Schoenau, Derek Peak, Long-term effects of integrated soil fertility management practices on soil chemical properties in the Sahel, Geoderma, Volume 366, 2020, 114207,ISSN 0016-7061, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2020.114207.