Domestic production satisfies less than half of Somalia’s cereal requirements. In this study, the Somali Agriculture Technical Group (SATG) evaluated different methods of nitrogen application (Broadcast, Hill, or Row) within an improved irrigated maize production system in Somalia’s Lower Shebelle riverine region. This improved system consisted of the best management practices (BMPs) recommended by SATG [mineral nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers, the pesticide Bulldock® (Beta-Cyfluthrin), and an elevated planting population]. The SATG system was also compared with a zero system, which received the same BMPs less mineral nitrogen, and a traditional farming system, which utilized local, unspecified management practices. The research was conducted on eighty-one farms located near the villages of Afgoi and Awdhegle. In the 2014 Gu season, nitrogen application method did not influence grain yields, stover yields or plant heights, but the SATG system (the Broadcast, Hill and Row treatments) was found to have greater grain yields, stover yields and plant heights than both the zero treatment and the traditional system. Significant location by treatment interactions (p £ 0.05) were observed for grain yield. On farms near Afgoi, the grain yield of the improved SATG system (3,530 kg ha-1) was 48% greater than that of the zero treatment and 64% greater than that of the traditional system. Near Awdhegle, these values were 56 and 73%, respectively (SATG = 5,330 kg ha-1). These interactions can likely be attributed to locational differences in farm management and soil properties. Regression analyses demonstrated that when mineral nitrogen was applied, the greatest yields were found at the highest planting populations and earliest planting dates. These data demonstrate that, by utilizing the simple BMPs prescribed by SATG, Somali farmers can dramatically increase maize yields in the Lower Shebelle.
Key words: Maize, nitrogen, on-farm, plant population, planting date, Somalia.
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