Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 108, Issue 3, pp 297–308 | Cite as

Finger millet response to nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in Kenya and Uganda

  • Keziah W. Ndungu-Magiroi
  • Angela Kasozi
  • Kayuki C. Kaizzi
  • Teresa Mwangi
  • Mary Koech
  • Catherine N. Kibunja
  • Dixon Wamae
  • C. S. Wortmann
Original Article


Finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn) is an important food crop of semi-arid to sub-humid Africa where little is known of its response to applied nutrients. Yield responses to nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) together with a diagnostic treatment (S, Mg, Zn, B) were determined from field research conducted in western Kenya and eastern and central Uganda. Grain yield was not affected by applied nutrients in some sites in Kenya, likely due to other prevailing stresses. Grain yield increased with N application for all sites and years in Uganda by a mean of 127% from the no N treatment (0 N) yield of 1.00 Mg ha−1. Grain yield increases ranged from 0.76 to 1.40 Mg ha−1 with 30 kg N ha−1 applied, with little added increase with >60 kg N ha−1. The mean economically optimal rate for N in Uganda was 72 and 43 kg N ha−1 with expected net returns to N of 166 and 279 $ ha−1 when the N cost to grain value was 3 and 9 kg kg−1, respectively. Yield was increased with P and K application at two of four production areas of Uganda. Yield was increased by >20% with application of Mg–S–Zn–B in addition to N–P–K for all sites in Uganda with foliar concentrations indicating possible S and B deficiency. There is great profit potential in Uganda, and less for Kenya for N, but not for P and K, application to finger millet. Response to S and B needs further exploration.


Economically optimal rate Net return to fertilizer Optimization Response functions Curvilinear to plateau Asymptotic 



Nutrient cost to grain price ratios [CP; $ kg−1 ($ kg−1)−1]


Economically optimal rate and the rate to maximize net return per hectare due to nutrient application


Long rain season


Short rain season



OFRA is a partnership of 13 African countries, funded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), managed by CAB International and implemented with technical and scientific advisory support from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to enable great farmer profitability from fertilizer use. We acknowledge the contributions of research support technicians and the farmers who cooperated in conducting field trials.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keziah W. Ndungu-Magiroi
    • 1
  • Angela Kasozi
    • 3
  • Kayuki C. Kaizzi
    • 3
  • Teresa Mwangi
    • 2
  • Mary Koech
    • 1
  • Catherine N. Kibunja
    • 4
  • Dixon Wamae
    • 5
  • C. S. Wortmann
    • 6
  1. 1.Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO)-KitaleKitaleKenya
  2. 2.Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO)-KisiiKisiiKenya
  3. 3.National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL)-KawandaKampalaUganda
  4. 4.Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO)-KabeteNairobiKenya
  5. 5.Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO)-MugugaKikuyuKenya
  6. 6.Department of Agronomy and HorticultureUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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