Residual Effects of Applied Phosphorus Fertilizer on Maize Grain Yield and Phosphorus Recovery from a Long-Term Trial in Western Kenya

Conference paper


Phosphorus (P) application is essential for crop production in the weathered, P-fixing soils of Western Kenya. It is hypothesized that a single large application of phosphorus fertilizer can shift soil-available P levels above a critical threshold, while further seasonal applications are requisite for sustaining yields. A field study was conducted in Siaya district to evaluate maize yield, P uptake, soil P balance and economic returns from P applied at different initial P rates and further seasonal P additions. In the first season, triple superphosphate (TSP) was added at rates of 0, 15, 30, 50, 100, 150 and 250 kg P ha–1, and maize yield and P uptake were assessed during 10 consecutive seasons. Additional treatments were included where an initial application of 100 kg P ha–1 was supplemented with seasonal additions of 7 kg P ha–1, supplied as TSP, manure or Tithonia diversifolia. Residual benefits of maize in terms of increased grain yields were high with cumulative yields ranging from 17.4 to 54.8 t ha–1 when P was applied at rates above 100 kg P ha–1. Resin-extractable P increased significantly with initial P addition but decreased rapidly with time, particularly for treatments with one-time high dose of P application. Economic evaluation of these technologies revealed that application of initial P as 100 kg P ha–1 with seasonal additions of 7 kg P ha–1 as TSP would give the best marginal returns to investment.


Maize yield P uptake P recovery P balance 



We gratefully acknowledge the BMZ-ISFM through TSBF-CIAT for providing financial support for this study. The assistance of John Mukalama and Wilson Ngului in field data collection and laboratory analysis is highly acknowledged.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (TSBF-CIAT)NairobiKenya

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