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OFRA team shares research protocol document

OFRA has been carrying out a series of trials to establish fertilizer response curves in different agro-ecological zones across 13 sub-Saharan countries. The trials have all be undertaken following a set of standard protocols.

Martin Macharia explains: “Crop nutrient response functions for major food crops are essential to optimizing fertilizer recommendations for these crops. Having robust data requires field research to determine yield with different levels for each nutrient of interest. We are sharing the protocol we used for the OFRA trials to obtain the information needed to determine robust nutrient response functions. We are committed to sharing our working methods.”

The OFRA field trial protocol manual has a number of different sections, including:

  • Site Selection: Logistic limitations to site selection and Field limitations

  • “Community-based” facilitators: Training of facilitators and Remuneration

  • Site Characterization: Plot level, Block level, Sub-soil sample, Reference soil sample, Manure samples, Processing, and Label and package according

  • Experimental Design

  • Field Trial Layout: Maize, Sorghum and pearl millet, Rice, finger millet, teff and wheat, Cassava, Pulses and Intercropping

  • Randomized allocation of treatments, construction of field books, printing of record sheets

  • Fertilizer Application

  • Crop Management

  • Land preparation

  • Planting

  • Pest control

  • Observations and data collection: Activities, General observations, Plot data collection, Diagnostic plant samples, Weather data, Farm yields

  • Data analysis