Knowledge for Development

Beyond N and P: Toward a land resource ecology perspective and impactful fertilizer interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa


Date: 10/03/2015


Initial results of experiments with multiple plant nutrients present in soils show that the proportion expressed as ratios impacts crop yields rather than absolute levels, indicating the existence of complex nutrient relations. These ratios are particularly important among Ca, Mg and K, between P and micronutrients and among the micronutrients themselves. Such ratios are shown to govern the ecological diversity of vegetation and spatial pattern of soils. It is therefore essential to include all essential nutrients in agronomic and fertilizer research. Limited amounts of optimal ratios of (micro)nutrients tuned to local soil chemical properties can have large impacts on yield and result in higher fertilizer uptake efficiency. (Virtual Fertilizer Research Center, 2015)