Acheampong Atta-Boateng, MFS

2013 TRI Fellow in Guinea

Cowpea Responses to Organic Fertilizer Applications in the Guinea Savanna

The Guinea Savanna typically experiences short rainy seasons that mark the growing season (June-August) and a long dry season (Oct-April). Rainfall is thus critical for crop production and sustenance of Savanna livelihood.  In the growing season, the characteristic heavy pours increases overland flow, minimizing soil water infiltration. High daily temperatures cause rapid evaporation in addition to periodic “dry spells.” Legumes are well adapted in this region due to abundant light resource required for nitrogen fixation. However, plants’ effort to tolerate drought result in reduced crop yield. Since organic matter remains do last the long dry season, we proposed an organic treatment (acyclic polyol) capable of prolonging moisture retention in plant tissue thereby allowing allocation of photosynthates for crop production. Using an improved drought resistant determinate cowpea variety (“Songatra”), we assessed treatment responses in comparison with NH4NO3, and a novel organic biostimulant (Shoots ) based on yield, leaf water capacity models, N-fixation capacity and leaf physiological attributes. Preliminary data shows higher mean yield by the polyol indicating a potential organic fertilizer that might be applicable to most dry climates.