Ferari Research Demonstrates Addition of Sulphur to NPK Increases Maize Yields in Ghana

This study, conducted by FERARI examines the impact of sulfur addition to NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) fertilizers on maize yields in Ghana. Over a span of three years, from 2020 to 2022, FERARI conducted more than 400 experiments on maize, soybean, and rice, collaborating with Ghanaian universities and research institutions while simultaneously providing training to students. In 2023, FERARI is in the process of validating its preliminary fertilizer recommendations based on three years of field data and legacy data from national research institutes and universities, which include over 1,000 experimental observations on maize. The experiments conducted in 2020 aimed to verify recommended NPK rates and assess the impact of additional nutrients such as zinc (Zn), sulfur (S), and iron (Fe) on crop yields. In 2021, FERARI introduced briquette technology alongside the 2020 experimental designs. Experimental sites in 2020 and 2021 were selected based on recommendations from researchers of partner institutions, encompassing on-station, on-farm, and farmer-managed experiments. In contrast, the site selection for experiments in 2022 and 2023 was based on a combination of soil properties, including organic matter content, soil depth, pH levels, and slope of the land. This approach allowed FERARI to establish experiments that accounted for the heterogeneity in soil properties and to understand the impact of fertilizer formulations on crop yields in the Guinea Savannah and Transitional zones of Ghana. The study findings indicate that optimal maize yields of around 5-7 tons per hectare can be achieved with NPK application rates somewhat below the current national recommendations. The application of sulfur in addition to NPK demonstrated a positive impact on maize yields, particularly in the Transitional Zone and Guinea Savannah. FERARI's research underscores the potential to improve maize production in Ghana, especially in the northern regions, by optimizing fertilizer application, enhancing soil quality, and addressing yield gaps. The program's efforts hold the promise of increasing maize production, improving smallholder farmer income, and advancing food security in the region
NPK fertilizers, Smallholder farmers, Soil properties