Low soil fertility and insufficient rainfall are the major constraints limiting pearl millet yields in Niger. Farmers use organic amendments from diverse sources as an integral component for meeting crop nutritional needs. In the Maradi region of Niger, a private poultry farm produces tons of poultry manure annually, much of which is applied to pearl millet in farmer’s fields. A field survey was conducted in 2004 to assess farmers’ perceptions, use and management of poultry manure. The survey results indicate that the poultry manure application rates varied from 1600 to 2300 kg ha-1. However, the farmers were concerned about nutrient levels present, the best application procedure, and the crop response to applications of poultry manure in combination with inorganic fertilizer. On-farm studies conducted in 2004 through 2006 indicated that application of 2 t ha-1poultry manure increased pearl millet grain yield by 56% and stover yield by 53%. Poultry manure plus 40 kg ha-1 of 15-15-15 (6 kg N ha-1 6kg ha-1 P2O5 6 kg K2O ha-1) dry fertilizer increased grain yield by 117% and stover yield by 94%. The cost/value ratio was 3.59 for poultry manure alone and 3.92 when the inorganic fertilizer was added. On-station experiments in 2005 and 2006 examined the effects of adding 10, 20 and 30 kg P ha-1 to the 2 t ha-1 of poultry manure, no further increase in yield was found, likely due to relatively high P concentration in the poultry manure. These studies indicate that 2 t ha-1of poultry manure is recommended for pearl millet production. Further research on the application of N fertilizer in combination with poultry manure is merited.
Key words: Chemical fertilizer, nitrogen, phosphorus, on-farm research.
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