Influence of plant density on variability of soil fertility and nutrient budgets in low input East African highland banana (Musa spp. AAA-EA) cropping systems

Abstract

The productivity of East African highland (EAH) banana cropping systems is declining, particularly in areas with low inherent soil fertility. Soil fertility management requires knowledge of nutrient flows at the interface between the soil surface and the soil system. The magnitude of soil fertility dynamics and nutrient depletion was studied for a short-term banana plant density trial in three contrasting agro-ecological sites of Rwanda (Kibungo low rainfall with medium soil fertility, Rubona high rainfall with low soil fertility and Ruhengeri high rainfall with high soil fertility) using nutrient stock and partial nutrient balance calculations. Plant density did not influence significantly nutrient mass fractions in plant parts (fruit, leaves and pseudostems) but nutrients contained through shredded leaves and pseudostems and those removed through bunch dry matter increased with plant density. Plant density responses to variation in soil fertility and partial nutrient balances seemed to depend on diversity in climate and soil type. Partial N and K balances (kg ha−1 year−1) were estimated to be strongly negative at Rubona and Ruhengeri while Ca and Mg were positive at Kibungo and Ruhengeri but negative at Rubona. This study showed that partial nutrient balances associated with soil nutrient stocks can provide the first order of magnitude of nutrient depletion in low input EAH banana cropping systems. This brings attention from agricultural researchers and farmers to develop options that can improve the productivity of these systems, where resource availability for improved nutrient management is scarce.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Baijukya FB, De Steenhuijsen Piters B (1998) Nutrient balances and their consequences in the banana-based land use systems of Bukoba district, northwest Tanzania. Agric Ecosyst Environ 71:147–158

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Baijukya FP, Ridder NDE, Masuki KF, Giller KE (2005) Dynamics of banana-based farming systems in Bukoba District, Tanzania: changes in land use, cropping and cattle keeping. Agric Ecosyst Environ 106:395–406

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bananuka JA, Rubaihayo PR, Zake JYK (2000) Effect of organic mulches on growth, yield components and yield of East African Highland bananas. Acta Hort (ISHS) 540:293–300

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bazira H, Bekunda MA, Tenywa JS (1997) Decomposition characteristics of mixed grass and banana residues and their effects on banana plant performance. In: Adipala E, Tenywa JS, Ogenga-Latigo MW (eds) African Crop Science Conference Proceedings, vol 3, 13–17 January, 1997. Pretoria, pp 421–428

  5. Bekunda MA (1999) Farmers’ responses to soil fertility decline in banana-based cropping systems of Uganda. Managing Africa’s soils No 4. IIED-London, p 17

  6. Bekunda MA, Woomer PL (1996) Organic resource management in banana-based cropping systems of the Lake Victoria Basin, Uganda. Agric Ecosyst Environ 59:171–180

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bekunda MA, Ebanyat P, Nkonya E, Mugendi D, Msaky JJ (2004) Soil fertility status, management, and research in East Africa. East Afr J Rural Dev 20:94–112

    Google Scholar 

  8. Birabwa R, van Asten PJA, Alou IN, Taulya G (2010) Got matooke (Musa spp.) for Christmas? Acta Hort 879:113–122

    Google Scholar 

  9. Brady NC, Weil RR (2002) The nature and properties of soils. Prentice-Hall, New Jersey

    Google Scholar 

  10. Briggs L, Twomlow SJ (2002) Organic material flows within a smallholder highland farming system of South West Uganda. Agric Ecosyst Environ 89:191–212

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Chattha TH, Yousaf M, Javeed S (2007) Phosphorus adsorption as described by Freundlich adsorption isotherms under rainfed conditions of Pakistan. Pak J Agri Sci 4:44

    Google Scholar 

  12. Cobo GJ, Dercon G, Cadisch G (2010) Nutrient balances in African land use systems across different spatial scales: a review of approaches, challenges and progress. Agric Ecosyst Environ 136:1–15

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Delstanche S (2011) Drivers of soil fertility in smallholder banana systems in the African Great Lakes Region. Ph.D. Dissertation. Catholic University of Leuven

  14. Delvaux B (1995) Soils. In: Gowen S (ed) Bananas and plantains. Chapman and Hall, London, pp 230–257

    Google Scholar 

  15. Dorel M, Achard R, Tixer P (2008) SIMBA-N: modelling nitrogen dynamics in banana populations in wet tropical climate. Application to fertilization management in the Caribbean. Europ J Agron 29:38–45

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Elsen A, Goossens B, Belpaire B, Neyens A, Speijer PR, De Waele D (2004) Recolonisation by nematodes of hot water treated cooking banana planting material in Uganda. Nematol 6:215–221

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Faerge J, Magid J (2004) Evaluating NUTMON nutrient balances in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nutr Cycl Agroecostyst 69:101–110

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. FAO (1987) “Soils of the World,” Food and Agriculture Organization and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Elsevier Science Publishing Co. Inc., New York

    Google Scholar 

  19. Gaidashova SV, van Asten PJA, De Waele D, Delvaux B (2009) Relationship between soil properties, crop management, plant growth and vigour, nematode occurrence and root damage in East African highland banana-cropping systems: a case study in Rwanda. Nematol 11:883–894

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Gaidashova SV, van Asten PJA, Delvaux B, De Waele D (2010) The influence of the topographic position within highlands of Western Rwanda on the interactions between banana (Musa spp. AAA-EA), parasitic nematodes and soil factors. Sci Hort 125:316–322

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Gold CS, Karamura EB, Kiggundu A, Bagamba F, Abera AMK (1999) Monograph on geographic shifts in highland cooking banana (Musa, group AAA-EA) production in Uganda. Afr Crop Sci J 7:223–298

    Google Scholar 

  22. Haileslassie A, Priess J, Veldkamp E, Teketay D, Lesschen JP (2005) Assessment of soil nutrient depletion and its spatial variability on smallholders’ mixed farming systems in Ethiopia using partial versus full nutrient balances. Agric Ecosyst Environ 108:1–16

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Haileslassie A, Priess JA, Veldkamp ED, Lesschen JP (2007) Nutrient flows and balances at the field and farm scale: exploring effects of land-use strategies and access to resources. Agric Syst 94:459–470

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Hauser S, van Asten PJA (2010) Methodological consideration on banana (Musa spp.) yield determinations. In: Dubois T et al. (eds) Proceedings of IC on banana and plantain in Africa, vol 879, Acta Hort, pp 433–444

  25. Lahav E (1995) Banana nutrition. In: Gowen S (ed) Bananas and plantains. Chapman and Hall, London, pp 258–316

    Google Scholar 

  26. Lekasi JK, Woomer PL, Tenywa JS, Bekunda MA (2001) Effect of mulching cabbage with banana residues on cabbage yield, soil nutrient and moisture supply, soil biota and weed biomass. Afr Crop Sci 9:499–506

    Google Scholar 

  27. Lopez A (1999) Conventional fertilization of Costa Rican bananas and its relationship to sustainable production. In: Rosales FE, Tripon SC, Cerna J (eds) Organic and/or environmentally friendly banana production. International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Montpellier, pp 61–78

    Google Scholar 

  28. Nandwa SM, Bekunda MA (1998) Research on nutrient flows and balances in East and South Africa: state of the art. Agric Ecosyst Environ 71:5–18

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. Ndabamenye T, Van Asten PJA, Vanhoudt N, Blomme G, Swennen R, Annandale JG, Barnard RO (2012) Ecological characteristics influence farmer selection of on-farm plant density and bunch mass of low input East African highland banana (Musa spp.) cropping systems. Field Crops Res 135:126–136

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Ndabamenye T, Van Asten PJA, Blomme G, Vanlauwe B, Swennen R, Annandale JG, Barnard RO (2013) Ecological characteristics and cultivar influence optimal plant density of East African highland bananas (Musa spp. AAA-EA) in low input cropping systems. Sci Hort 150:299–311

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Nyombi K, Van Asten PJA, Leffelaar PA, Corbeels M, Kaizzi CK, Giller KE (2009) Allometric growth relationships of East Africa highland bananas (Musa AAA-EAHB) cv. Kisansa and Mbwazirume. Ann Appl Biol 155:403–418

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Nyombi K, van Asten PJA, Corbeels M, Taulya G, Leffelaar PA, Giller KE (2010) Mineral fertilizer response and nutrient use efficiencies of East African highland banana (Musa spp., AAA-EAHB, cv. Kisansa). Field Crops Res 117:38–50

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Oenema O, Kros H, de Vries W (2003) Approaches and uncertainties in nutrient budgets: implications for nutrient management and environmental policies. Eur J Agron 20:3–16

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Okalebo JR, Gathua KW, Woomer PL (2003) Laboratory methods of soil and plant analysis: a working manual, 2nd edn. TSBF-CIAT and SACRED, Nairobi

    Google Scholar 

  35. Okumu MO, van Asten PJA, Kahangi E, Okech SH, Jefwa J, Vanlauwe B (2011) Production gradients in smallholder banana (cv. Cavendish) farms in Central Kenya. Sci Hortic 127:475–481

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. Probert ME, Okalebo JR, Simpson JR, Jones RK (1992) The role of boma manure for improving soil fertility. In: Probert ME (ed) A search for strategies for sustainable dryland cropping in semi-arid eastern Kenya, vol 41. ACIAR Proceedings, pp 63–70

  37. Puttaso A, Vityakon P, Saenjan P, Trelo-ges V, Cadisch G (2011) Relationship between residue quality, decomposition patterns, and soil organic matter accumulation in a tropical sandy soil after 13 years. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 89:159–174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Raphael L (2006) Biodisponibilité de l’azote en cultures bananières sur nitisol. Ph.D. Thesis. Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, Guadeloupe

  39. Rockström J (2000) Water resources management in smallholder farms in Eastern and Southern Africa: an overview. Phys Chem Earth 25:275–283

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Smaling EMA, Stoorvogel JJ, Windmeijer PN (1993) Calculating soil nutrient balances in Africa at different scales. II. District scale. Fert Res 35:237–250

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  41. Smaling EMA, Fresco LO, de Jager A (1996) Classifying, monitoring and improving soil nutrient stocks and flows in Africa agriculture. Ambio 25:492–496

    Google Scholar 

  42. Smithson PC, McIntyre BD, Gold CS, Ssali H, Kashayij IN (2001) Nitrogen and potassium fertilizers vs. nematode and weevil effects on yield and foliar nutrient status of banana in Uganda. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 59:239–250

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Smithson PC, McIntyre BD, Gold CS, Ssali H, Night G, Okech S (2004) Potassium and magnesium fertilizers on banana in Uganda: yields, weevil damage, foliar nutrient status and DRIS analysis. Nutr CyclAgroecosyst 69:43–49

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  44. Speijer PR, Gold CS, Goossens B, Karamura EB, Elsen A, De Waele D (2000) Rate of nematode infestation of clean banana planting material (Musa spp. AAA) in Uganda. In: Craenen K, Ortiz R, Karamura EB, Vuylsteke DR (eds), Proceedings of the first international conference on banana and plantain for Africa, Kampala, Uganda, vol 549. Acta Hort, pp 461–467

  45. Stoorvogel JJ, Smaling EMA (1990) Assessment of soil nutrient depletion in sub-Saharan Africa 1983–2000, vol I. Main report. The Winand Staring Centre for Integrated Land, Soil and Water Research (SC-DLO), Wageningen

  46. Stover RH, Simonds NW (1987) Bananas, 3rd edn. Longman, London, p 468

    Google Scholar 

  47. Teixeira LAJ, Van Raid B, Neto JEB (2008) Estimate nutrition of Cavendish banana trees subgroup grown in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Rev Bras Frutic 30:540–545

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Turner DW, Korawis C, Robson AD (1989) Soil analysis and its relationship with leaf analysis and banana yield with special reference to a study at Carnarvon, Western Australia. Fruits 44:193–203

    Google Scholar 

  49. Ulrich A, Ohki K (1973) Potassium. In: Chapman HD (ed) Diagnostic criteria for plants and soils. Quality Printing Company, Riverside, pp 362–393

    Google Scholar 

  50. Van Asten PJA, Gold CS, Wendt J, De Waele D, Okech SHO, Ssali H, Tushemereirwe WK (2004) The contribution of soil quality to yield and its relation with other banana yield loss factors in Uganda. In: Blomme G, Gold CS, Karamura E (eds), Proceedings of a workshop held on farmer participatory testing of IPM options for sustainable banana production in Eastern Africa, Seeta, Uganda, December 8–9, 2003

  51. Van Asten PJA, Gold CS, Wendt J, De Waele D, Okech SHO, Ssali H, Tushemereirwe WK (2005) The contribution of soil quality to yield and its relation with other banana yield loss factors in Uganda. In: Blomme G, Gold CS, Karamura E (eds) Proceedings of a Workshop Held on Farmer Participatory Testing of IPM Options for Sustainable Banana Production in Eastern Africa, Seeta, Uganda, December 8–9, 2003. International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Montpellier, pp 100–115

    Google Scholar 

  52. Van den Bosch H, Gitari JN, Ogaro VN, Maobe SA, Vlaming J (1998) Monitoring nutrient flows and economic performance in African farming system (NUTMON). Monitoring nutrient flows and balances in three districts in Kenya. Agric Ecosyst Environ 71:63–80

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Verdoodt A, Van Ranst E (2003) A large-scale land suitability classification for Rwanda. Ghent University, Laboratory of Soil Science, Belgium

    Google Scholar 

  54. Wairegi LWI, van Asten PJA (2010) The agronomic and economic benefits of fertilizer and mulch use in highland banana systems in Uganda. Agric Syst 103:543–550

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Wairegi LWI, van Asten PJA, Tenywa MM, Bekunda MA (2010) Abiotic constraints override biotic constraints in East African highland banana systems. Field Crops Res 117:146–153

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Wortmann CS, Karamura EB, Gold CS (1994) Nutrient flows from harvested banana pseudostems. Afr Crop Sci J 2:179–182

    Google Scholar 

  57. Yamaguchi Y, Araki S (2004) Biomass production of banana plants in the indigenous farming system of the East African Highland. A case study on the Kamachumu plateau in northwest Tanzania. Agric Ecosyst Environ 102:93–111

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Zake YK, Bwamiki DP, Nkwiine C (2000) Soil management requirement for banana production on the heavy soils around Lake Victoria in Uganda. Acta Hort 540:285–292

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This study was carried out by the Rwanda Agricultural Research Institute and the Consortium for Improved Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Central Africa research project, led by Bioversity International and funded by the Directorate General for Development, Belgium. We would like to thank staff at International Institute for Tropical Institute Uganda for their assistance in plant and soil analysis. We thank farmers at Ruhengeri who provided their land for the density trials. Thanks to the CIALCA administrative team for providing logistic support.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to T. Ndabamenye.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ndabamenye, T., Vanlauwe, B., Van Asten, P.J.A. et al. Influence of plant density on variability of soil fertility and nutrient budgets in low input East African highland banana (Musa spp. AAA-EA) cropping systems. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 95, 187–202 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10705-013-9557-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Agro-ecological sites
  • Nutrient depletion
  • Rwanda