Rock phosphate-P enhances biomass and nitrogen accumulation by legumes in upland crop production systems in humid West Africa uri icon

abstract

  • Experiments were conducted during 1996-1998 in screen house and in the field in the humid forest zone of Cote d'Ivoire, to evaluate the effects of phosphorus (P) from phosphate rock (PR) on the performance of the root nodulating legume Crotalaria micans grown for 8 weeks. The experimental soils were acid Ultisols with < 4 mg/kg extractable Bray-1 P. Tilemsi PR from Mali and triple superphosphate (TSP) were applied at 60 kg P ha(-1) (screen house) and 90 kg P ha(-1) (field) to the legume. Legume N-fixed (BNF) was estimated by the N-15-isotope dilution and delta N-15 natural abundance methods, using Cassia obtusifolia L. as a non-fixing legume reference plant. Without P supply, and under the field conditions, C. micans produced less than 1 tonne of biomass and accumulated 29 kg N/ha. The application of PR-P enhanced legume N by about fourfold over the unfertilised control. There was no significant difference between the effects of TSP and PR. Phosphorus application mainly affected the total amount of N accumulated rather than the percentage derived from the atmosphere (%N dfa) per se. Furthermore, the cumulative effects of PR-P on the performance of C. micans greatly improved with time in the screen house. This study confirms that Tilemsi PR is an agronomically effective source of P for short-duration legume green manure (GM) even in the first year of its application to acid P-deficient soils in the West African humid zone.

publication date

  • 2006
  • 2006