Modelling soil nutrient dynamics and Maize (Zea mays L) Performance under different organic based cropping systems using APSIM at Kabete, Kenya
Maize (Zea mays L) production in Kenya is declining due to soil fertility depletion. The high costs of inorganic inputs vis-à-vis their prolonged use posing soil degradation challenges further aggravates the situation.
Sustainable technologies to enhance soil fertility and aid in future predictions of impacts of biophysical changes on maize production systems are needed. This study will be conducted to model soil nutrient dynamics and maize performance under different organic based cropping systems using the Agricultural Production System Simulator (APSIM) at Kabete field station of the University of Nairobi.
The experimental layout will be a randomized complete block design with a split plot arrangement. The main plots will be the cropping systems; crop rotation (chickpea – maize), intercropping (chickpea/Maize) and monocropping (sole maize) whereas the split plots will be organic inputs; farmyard manure (FYM) and Minjingu rock phosphate (MRP).
The soil will be sampled before planting and at crop harvest for determination of P, N, and mineral N, bulk density, soil moisture and organic carbon. Plant will be sampled at the seedling, flowering and maturity stages of crop growth and similarly analysed for N and P.
It is anticipated that the integration of legumes in the maize based cropping system with application of organic inputs will improve the soil fertility and consequently maize performance.