Simulating impact of seasonal climatic variation on the response of maize (Zea mays L.) to inorganic fertilizer in sub-humid Ghana
Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Walter-Flex Strasse 3, 53113 Bonn, Germany; Soil and Irrigation Research Centre, Kpong, College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, Institute of Agricultural Research, University of Ghana, P.O. Box LG 68, Legon, Accra, Ghana; Department of Crops and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Resource, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Under low input subsistence farming systems, increased pressure on land use and decreased fallow periods have led to a decline in soil productivity. The soils in sub-humid region of Ghana are generally poor and require mineral fertilizer to increase crop productivity. This paper presents the use of Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM) to simulate the long term influence of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) on maize (Zea mays L.) yield in Sub-humid Ghana. The APSIM model was evaluated at two sites in Ejura, on a rainfed experiment carried out on maize in 2008 major and minor seasons, under various nitrogen and phosphorus rates. The model was able to reproduce the response of maize to water, N and P, and hence simulated maize grain yields with a coefficient of correlation (R2) of 0. 90 and 0. 88 for Obatanpa and Dorke cultivars, respectively. A 21-year long term simulation, with different rates of N and P mineral fertilizer application, revealed that moderate application of N (60 kg N ha-1) and 30 kg P ha-1 improves both the long term average and the minimum yearly guaranteed yield. Variability in grain yield increased with increasing application of N fertilizer in both seasons. Treatments with P fertilizer application shows a similar trend for the major season and reverse trend for the minor season, thereby suggesting an interactive effect with rainfall amounts and distribution. Application of 30 kg P ha-1 significantly increased the response to N. The response to mineral fertilizer (N and P) applications varied between seasons, suggesting the need to have a range of fertilizer recommendations to be applied based on seasonal weather forecast. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
agricultural production; cultivar; ecological modeling; farming system; fertilizer application; humid environment; maize; mineral; nitrogen; numerical model; phosphorus; physiological response; rainfall; reproduction; seasonal variation; weather forecasting; Ghana; Zea mays