Nutrient Expert® for Hybrid Maize - Southeast Asia

A user-friendly nutrient decision support tool that enables researchers, extension experts and industry agronomists to quickly develop field specific fertilizer recommendations for hybrid maize.


Many countries in Asia have started replacing existing blanket fertilizer recommendations for vast areas with rice, maize, or wheat with more site-specific guidelines adapted to local needs. This process was accompanied with a shift from traditional on-station research to on-farm development and evaluation of novel practices. A key challenge faced by the local extension agencies remains the complex nature of factors influencing nutrient requirements. The Nutrient Expert for Hybrid Maize is a new, computer-based decision support tool developed to assist local experts to quickly formulate fertilizer guidelines for tropical hybrid maize based on the principles of site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) described by Witt el al (2009). This software allows scientists and extension experts to jointly develop novel nutrient management strategies for evaluation.
The Nutrient Expert for Hybrid Maize will help a farmer increase his yield and profit by suggesting a meaningful yield goal for his location and by providing a fertilizer management strategy required to attain the yield goal. This software only requires information that can be easily provided by a farmer or local expert. This set of information include:
    • Current yield and nutrient management practice
    • Farmer’s current planting density
    • Characteristics of the growing environment or estimate of the attainable yield (if known)
    • Soil fertility indicators (e.g. soil texture and color, historical use of organic inputs) or estimates of yield responses to fertilizer N, P, and K (if known)
    • Crop residue management, use of organic inputs, and nutrient carryover from previous crop are used to adjust fertilizer P and K requirements as merited

After answering a set of simple questions, the user will get guidelines on fertilizer management (and more) that are tailored to his location (i.e. maize environment) and locally-available fertilizer sources.

The software also presents a simple profit analysis comparing costs and benefits between the farmer’s current practice and the recommended alternative improved practice. In addition, Nutrient Expert for Hybrid Maize was designed in a way that it can be used as a learning tool—providing quick helps, instant summary tables and graphs, plus allowing a great amount of flexibility in navigating through the modules in the software.

The guidelines provided by this software are consistent with the scientific principles of Site-Specific Nutrient Management (SSNM) and the development of this software was guided by the following goals of SSNM:
    • Utilize indigenous nutrient sources available on-farm
    • Apply adequate amounts of fertilizer N, P, K, and other nutrients to minimize nutrient-related constraints and achieve high yield
    • Achieve high profitability in the short and medium term
    • Avoid the luxury uptake of nutrients by the crop
    • Minimize depletion of soil fertility

The Nutrient Expert for Hybrid Maize helps to:
    • develop an optimal planting density for a location
    • evaluate current nutrient management practices
    • determine a meaningful yield goal based on attainable yield
    • estimate fertilizer NPK rates required for the selected yield goal
    • translate fertilizer NPK rates into fertilizer sources
    • develop an application strategy for fertilizers (right rate, right source, right location, right time), and
    • compare the expected or actual benefit of current and improved practices

Reference
C. Witt, J.M. Pasuquin, M.F. Pampolino, R.J. Buresh, and A. Dobermann. 2009. A manual for the development and participatory evaluation of site-specific nutrient management for maize in tropical, favorable environments. International Plant Nutrition Institute, Penang, Malaysia.

Suggested citation
Pampolino M, Witt C, Pasuquin JM, Sinohin PJ. 2011. Nutrient Expert for Hybrid Maize (version 1.11). A software for formulating fertilizer guidelines for tropical hybrid maize. International Plant Nutrition Institute, Penang, Malaysia.

For further enquiries, please contact
Dr. Mirasol Pampolino

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