publications

Research with Impact

The Research with Impact series highlights case study examples of solution-driven research supported by IPNI.

 

Long-term Research Documents Importance of Balanced Plant Nutrition

Farmers increasingly need science-based information on the role of balanced plant nutrition to optimize profitability and minimize environmental impact. IPNI recognizes that long-term crop nutrition research is essential for understanding the 4R pillars— economic, environmental, and social sustainability of crop production and has supported an on-going study in western Kansas, USA that began in 1961.

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Balanced Fertilization of Grain Crops in Egypt Can Double Yields

In Egypt, the application of mineral fertilizers is highly skewed towards nitrogen, which has led to the gradual depletion of other nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, and several micronutrients following many years of repeated crop harvest. Unbalanced fertilization in the country allows for a great opportunity to improve crop productivity through improved fertilizer management.

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Enhancing Indian Farmer Income with Balanced Nutrition of a Rice-Maize Rotation

It has become increasingly common for farmers to grow rice, followed by maize each year in their fields. This rice-maize cropping system provides an option for farmers to diversify and improve their income compared to growing only rice. High-yielding maize removes more nutrients from the soil than rice or wheat. Current fertilization practices have led to an imbalanced and insufficient reservoir of many nutrients in the soil. Improper fertilization practices are leading to an overall decline in farm productivity. IPNI always recommends that farmers apply fertilizer nutrients according to the demand of the crop and apply nutrients in ways that minimize their loss and maximize their efficiency.

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Improved Fertilization Boosts Olive Production in Morocco

Olives are one of the most important fruit crops in Morocco. The country’s fruit production has nearly doubled in the last ten years. But this higher production is mainly due to increased tree planting as yields remain low. Nutrient deficiencies and imbalanced fertilization remain a primary constraint to higher yields. IPNI cooperated within a study that evaluated current farmer practices for 36 olive orchards. The goal was to test whether improved fertilizer recommendations could boost olive production.

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Overcoming Human Zinc Deficiencies with Proper Fertilization

Zinc (Zn) deficiency in human diets causes people to have many health complications, including impaired brain development, weakened immune systems, and stunted growth. Zinc deficiency is responsible for the deaths of 450,000 children annually. Low Zn intake is clearly a major issue, especially among women, children, and the elderly living in the developing world.

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Fire Does Not Reduce the Nutrient Value of Phosphorus Fertilizers

Fire strikes many fields in the Cerrado region of Brazil every winter due to weather conditions of high temperatures and low humidity. Some fires happen accidentally or farmers intentionally burn cover crops, crop residues, and pastures. Farmers wondered if the fire had an effect on their fertilizer, or if reapplication was needed so a partnership with IPNI and local researchers was established to investigate the effect of high temperatures on two common P fertilizers, single superphosphate (SSP) and triple superphosphate (TSP).

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Improving Yield and Profitability of Processing Tomatoes in Northwest China with Potassium

Tomatoes require a relatively large amount of potassium (K) for adequate growth. Recently, scientists have detected declining K concentrations for soils in the Xinjiang region, and this is thought to be related to the amount of K removed from the field during the continual harvest of processing tomatoes as well as other crops. Falling soil K fertility is leading to a reduction in tomato yield and quality.

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Overcoming Low Maize Yields with Lime and Potassium in Chiapas, Mexico

Soil acidity is a major constraint that limits maize productivity in the southern agricultural region of Chiapas, Mexico. The region’s dominant sandy soils are derived from granite in a lowland tropical environment. These soils are naturally acidic, but conditions are made worse by burning plant residues, use of acidifying fertilizers, and tillage.

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Boosting Soybean Yields and Raising Farmer Income in Kenya with Nutrient Management

Grain legumes are an important source of dietary protein and income for farmers in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Soybean production provides smallholder farmers in Kenya and Uganda with an alternative cash income, improves nutritional security and contributes to the soil N supply through biological N2 fixation. Smallholder farmers currently apply little or no fertilizer on soybean and prefer to use it on other crops instead, which has contributed to poor soybean yields.

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Strengthening Families in Peru by Improving Coffee Yields

Small holder coffee farmers who have migrated to the steep slopes of the northeastern Amazon in Peru commonly faced a repeating poverty cycle. Their perennially low yields and incomes prevent adequate reinvestment in their crops. Over time this situation has lead to extreme poverty and family instability. Soil nutrient depletion is a main factor limiting yields. Very little fertilizer is used, biomass production is low, and the risk of soil erosion is high. Eventually families move on in search of new land to start the cycle again.

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