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close this bookBetter Farming Series 17 - Groundnuts (FAO - INADES, 1977, 40 p.)
close this folderApplying fertilizers
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View the documentWhat fertilizers to use
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34. Fertilizers give the plant the mineral salts which feed it.

But it is useless to apply fertilizers if you have not tilled your field well and if you have not sown densely. Fertilizers help only if the plants are spaced closely. If the field has not been well tilled and the crop is not sown densely enough, it is a waste of time and money to apply fertilizers.

35. Apply fertilizers two weeks after sowing, when you see two leaves quite open on the big stem of the groundnut plant. Then the plant will get its nourishment at flowering time.

You can also apply fertilizers when you sow, if your seed drill can sow and apply fertilizer at the same time.

What fertilizers to use

36. Groundnuts need above all phosphorus, calcium and sulfur.

The fertilizer called superphosphate contains these in the form of mineral salts.

But different amounts of fertilizers have to be used in different areas, because the soils are not the same. Ask your extension worker what fertilizer to choose and how much of it to apply.

37. To apply too much fertilizer is also a waste of money.


On an experimental field, an application of 75 kilogrammes of superphosphate per hectare resulted in a crop of 1300 kilogrammes of unshelled groundnuts. An application of 150 kilogrammes of superphosphate per hectare yielded a crop of only 1340 kilogrammes. The extra 40 kilogrammes of groundnuts did not pay for the extra 75 kilogrammes of fertilizer used.

Groundnuts can use chemical fertilizers better if you put organic manure on the field before tilling.

How to apply fertilizers

38. This is difficult. You must learn how to do it and pay careful attention.

The extension worker will teach you how to apply fertilizers correctly.

If you apply fertilizers with a fertilizer distributor attached to the seed drill or hoe, you must carefully set the distributor in such a way that the whole field gets fertilizer. You must watch the distributor to see that fertilizer always comes out, for the distributor may get blocked up by earth or weeds.

If you apply fertilizers by hand or by using a scoop, you must give fertilizer to each plant, and the same amount to each plant.

After you have spread your fertilizer, work it Into the soil with a hoe.

Always cultivate a few days after applying fertilizers.

Spread fertilizer along the row of groundnule, for the whole