GUIDE TO FERTILIZER USE FOR CROPS IN AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA

INTRODUCTION

Soil fertility deals with the supply of nutrients by the soil to the plants. Although other environmental factors may affect yields of crops and productivity of the soils, the supply of nutrients in adequate amounts and forms, has been recognized as the most important factor controlling the yields of crops. A productive soil must of necessity be fertile. Akwa Ibom State lies between Latitudes 4° 32’ and 5° 33’ N and Longitudes 7° 25’ and 8° 25’ E. It has state boundaries with Abia and Cross River States in the north, Cross River State in the southeast and the offshore of the Atlantic Ocean in the south. The climate of this area is humid tropical characterized by the wet and dry seasons. The two seasons are influenced by the effect of the humid maritime Tropical (mT) air mass with its associated south westerly winds and the dry continental Tropical (CT) air mass with its north westerly winds. Rainfall is usually heavy and peaks at over 3000mm per annum in the coast decreasing in the northern hinterlands.

Peasant agricultural practices predominate in this area like most parts of the sub-region as over 85% of the population is engaged in agriculture, namely, farming, fishing, hunting, processing and trading in the various agricultural produce. In cultivating the land, farmers find it difficult to obtain optimum yield of crops due to general infertility of the soils. Fertility management of the soils of this area which includes the use of fertilizers and lime will depend on the nutrient status native to the soils as well as the acidic condition of the soils. For an intensive cultivation of the land for good yields, the nutrient status has to be determined and periodically monitored in order to plan the fertilizer and lime requirement strategy for sustained profitable yields of crops grown on the land. This means soil testing has to be carried out often and the use of fertilizers and lime be based on soil testing principles.

This book provides useful guide to fertilizer use for crops in the State and also serves as guide in the southeast agro-ecological zone of Nigeria. It is guided by the current global trends in fertilizer best management practices (BMPs), namely: 1. right product which requires matching the fertilizer source and product to crop need and soil properties; 2. right rate which requires matching the amount of fertilizer applied to the crop needs; 3. right time which requires that plant nutrients in fertilizer matenal are made available when the crop needs them; 4. right place which requires that fertilizer nutrients be placid and kept where .the crop can use them.

With proper management involving fertilizer use, cultural practices, pest and disease control, use of improved varieties and good extension delivery, farmers can obtain optimum yields from their cropping enterprise irrespective of size of land. This book is organized in three broad sections. Section One discusses general characteristics of soils of Akwa Ibom State, nutrient deficiency symptoms as guide to nutrient needs of the crops, guide to common fertilizers in use in the area, general methods of fertilizer application and some basic fertilizer calculations. Section Two gives tabular guide to fertilizer recommendations for each of the 26 crops listed in the book as well as other useful information on time and method of fertilizer application. Section Three provides additional information to guide the need for lime, supplementary nutrient sources and maintenance of soil fertility, soil testing and research needs, fertilizer extension service and demonstrations, issues of environmental concerns in the use of fertilizers and guide for crop yield data in Nigeria.

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Dept of Soil Science and Land Resources Management
P.O. Box 4240,
University of Uyo,
Nigeria
E-mail address:ibiatrenchard@yahoo.com
Phone (Mobile):+2348023206122; +2348037783991

About

I am a Professor of Soil Chemistry and Fertility with a lot of interest in Soils, Agriculture, Environment and Development. I hold professional memberships with a lot of professional bodies. I have participated in various capacity building conferences such as the 40thAnnual Conference of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria, University of Calabar, March 14-18, 2016. I have handled several services within and outside the University of Uyo. My publications in journals, books and public discourse are highly rated and some can be downloaded here and redistributed where necessary.Learn more...