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Establishment of 4R Demo Plots in the 4R Solution Project

To develop and disseminate best nutrient management recommendations for key crops in the project focus countries of Ghana and Ethiopia, the 4R Solution project has recently established multiple 4R experimentation and demonstration sites. Established at the onset of the 2020 rainy season in June and July for Ghana and Ethiopia respectively, these 4R sites have been established in centrally located farmers field, with the close participation of local extension staff, local research partners, and farmers. 4R experimentation sites have been established in the form of nutrient omission trials that will provide key data on crop yield responses to nutrients applications. This data will help in the development of decision support tools that will guide the development of 4R based Site-Specific Nutrient Management recommendations at the farm level. On the other hand, 4R demonstration sites have been established in the form of 4R learning centers where farmers are receiving practical training on how to implement best crop and nutrient management practice based on the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Management Framework of “using the Right Source of nutrients, applied at the Right Rate, at the Right Place, and in the Right Time”.


Photo 1: Demarcation of a wheat 4R learning site in Minjar Shenkora District, Ethiopia

In Ghana, a total of twenty-four maize nutrient omission experiments have been established in the focal project districts of Nanumba South, Nanumba North, East Gonja, and Kpandai, while a total of twelve rice nutrient omission experiments have been established in the rice growing districts of Nanumba North and East Gonja. For both maize and rice, a set of six nutrient omission treatments have been established on plots measuring 10 meters by 10 meters in each nutrient omission trial site. The selection of sites for maize and rice nutrient omission trials was conducted by considering differences in soil type, field location, and cropping history so as to ensure selected sites were representative of major farm conditions in the project areas.


Photo 2: Training on right fertilizer placement at a maize 4R learning site in Northern Ghana

Established 4R learning sites in Ghana comprise of twelve maize and twelve groundnut 4R learning sites. Maize 4R learning sites have been established to demonstrate benefits of using the right source and the right rate of fertilizers. To achieve this, two different types of commonly used maize fertilizers have been selected for evaluation of right source and applied at ‘medium’ and ‘high’ rates to allow evaluation of the right rate. For groundnut, 4R learning sites have been set-up so as to demonstrate benefits of fertilizer application in groundnut, as the typical smallholder farmer groundnut cultivation practice in Ghana involves no fertilizer application.

In Ethiopia, a total of thirty-two wheat and thirty-two teff nutrient omission experiments have been established in the focal project district of Minjar Shenkora. For both wheat and teff, a set of six nutrient omission treatments have been established on plots measuring 5 meters by 5 meters in each nutrient omission trial site. Wheat nutrient omission trials have been established in the higher altitude predominantly wheat growing villages of Kristos Semra, Iran Buti, Zewelde, and Sama, while teff nutrient omission trials have been established in the lower altitude predominantly teff growing villages of Bolosilasie, Kombolcha, Chole, and Adama. For both wheat and teff, site selection was based on soil type, position on the slope, and past cropping history so as to ensure selected sites were representative of the major farm conditions in the project area.


Photo 3: A farmer preparing a section of his field selected for hosting of a 4R wheat learning site in Minjar Shenkora, Ethiopia

Established 4R learning sites in Ethiopia comprise of sixteen wheat and sixteen teff 4R learning sites. For both wheat and teff, established 4R learning sites have been set-up so as to demonstrate benefits of the right source, right rate, and right time of fertilizer application. Wheat 4R learning sites have been set-up in centrally located farms in villages that predominantly grow wheat. Similarly, teff 4R learning sites have been set-up in centrally located farms in villages that predominantly grow teff.

Photo 4: Early crop growth in a maize 4R learning site in Northern Ghana

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