Decision support system for agro-technology transfer (DSSAT) model simulation of maize growth and yield response to npk fertilizer application on a benchmark soil of Sudan savanna agro-ecological zone of Ghana

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Maize production in the Sudan savanna agro-ecological zone of Ghana is hindered by erratic rainfall and low soil fertility. The use of inorganic fertilizers tends to increase yield of maize. The general objective of the study was to refine profitable fertilizer recommendation for maize production on selected benchmark soils in the Sudan savanna agro-ecological zone using Decision Support System for Agro-technology transfer (DSSAT). The experiment was laid in RCBD with a plot size of 4.8 m X 6m and 4 replications. Obaatanpa maize variety was used for the experiment. The soil at the site was Tanchera soil series (Ferric Lixisol, FAO classification). NPK fertilizer rates evaluated were 0-0-0, 0-90-90, 40-90-90, 80-90-90, 120-0-90, 120-45-90, 120-90-90, 120-90-0, 120-90-45 and 160-90-90 kg/ha respectively. The predictive ability of the DSSAT model was tested and validated with data collected from the field during 2010 growing season. Mean difference (MD), Root Mean Square Error (RMSE), R2, d-statistic and Normalized Root Mean Square Error (NRMSE) were used to determine the level of coincidence between the observed field and model simulated results. Results showed that treatment 160-90-90 had the highest yield, by-product weight and top weight from both the field data and the model predictions. Treatment 0-90-90 had the lowest yield, by-product weight and top weight. The seasonal analysis of the model showed that 160-90-90 was the best and most efficient for maize production on Tanchera soil series (Ferric Lixisol FAO, 2006) in the Sudan savanna agro-ecological zone in terms of yield and monetary returns per hectare.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Kumasi, in partial fulfillment for the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Soil Science