Development and Dissemination of 4R Nutrient Stewardship Knowledge to Support Crop Production Intensification


22 May 2017

2016 Annual Interpretive Summary

The objective of the project is to develop a Nutrient Expert® (NE) tool for Moroccan farmers and extension specialists to implement appropriate nutrient management practices for wheat production. In the 2015/2016 cropping season, nutrient omission trials were established in four regions of Morocco: Abda (semi-arid region), Chaouia (intermediate-semi-arid region), Fez ( favorable rain-fed area) and Tadla (irrigated area). In each region, 10 on-farm trials were planted with bread wheat (BW) and durum wheat (DW) under seven nutrient treatments (kg/ha): optimum treatment (OPT) (43 kg N+36 kg P2O5+45 kg K2O in Abda; 84 kg N+42 kg P2O5+52 kg K2O in Settat (Chaouia); 43 kg N+72 kg P2O5+87 kg K2O in Berrechid (Chaouia); 61 kg N+72 kg P2O5+90 kg K2O in Fez; 192 kg N+108 Kg P2O5+135 kg K2O in Tadla), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) omission from OPT, control (without fertilizers), site-specific nutrient management (SSNM, based on NE recommendation), and farmer fertilizer practice (FFP). The cropping season 2015/16 was a very dry in Morocco. The total rainfall from the sowing to maturity was: 125 mm in Abda, 187 mm in Chaouia, 217 in Fez, and 87 mm in Tadla. Due to drought, grain yields in rain-fed areas were very low or the fields were grazed before the harvest time.

Results of the study showed that the average grain yields of BW and DW were less than 0.5 t/ha in semi-arid areas (Abda, Settat, and Berrechid) and 1.1 t/ha in the favorable rain-fed area of Fez with no significant effect of fertilizer treatments. In the irrigated area of Tadla, the average grain yield of DW (7.5 t/ha) was significantly higher than BW (6.7 t/ha). The maximum grain yield of BW (8.6 t/ha) was obtained with SSNM treatment, and the OPT treatment produced the highest yield for DW (9.5 t/ha). Results in the irrigated area showed that the omission of N reduced the average grain yield by 26% and 27% for BW and DW, respectively. The omission of P and K reduced the average grain yield of DW by 18%. For BW, omitting P and K reduced the grain yield by 7% and 17%, respectively. In the irrigated area, average grain yield of wheat under SSNM treatment were higher than FFP by 2.9 t/ha and 2.7 t/ha in BW and DW, respectively.