Cropping Systems to Optimize Yield, Water and Nutrient Use Efficiency of Pearl Millet and Grain Sorghum

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Principal Investigator(s):
Stephen C. Mason (US); Minamba Bagayoko, Samba Traore (Mali); Nouri Maman, Seyni Sirif (Niger); Taonda Sibiri Jean Baptiste, INERA (Burkina Faso), Orlando Tellez Obregon, Leonardo Garcia Centeno (Nicaragua)

Co-Principal Investigator(s):


This project focused primarily on crop production systems which increase the probability of obtaining higher

pearl millet and sorghum grain and stover yields. This involves systems which increase nutrient and water availability to growing crops, and produces desired uniform stands. Present efforts emphasize crop rotation, intercropping, inorganic and organic fertilizer management, and residue management interactions with traditional and improved cultivars. These cropping systems research efforts require long-term investments of well-trained, interested scientists and stable funding. Education of additional scientists in crop production and continued support of their work after return to their home countries is needed to improve productivity of cropping systems and to maintain the soil/land resource.


1. Implement multi-year research on microdose, N and P fertilizer application on pearl millet grain yield, nutrient removal, and changes in soil nutrient levels in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. 2. Implement research on mechanized zai production system for pearl millet in Burkina Faso, weed control interactions with fertilizer rates in Mali, and fertilizer rate by plant population for hybrid grain sorghum seed production. 3. Conduct research on adaptation, production practices, and grain quality for population hybrids in West Africa. 4. Actively participate in the West and Central Africa Pearl Millet Research Network (ROCAFREMI) agronomic research and annual meetings in West Africa. 5. Determine the planting date and row spacing recommendation for dwarf pearl millet hybrid production in eastern and western Nebraska. 6. Evaluate grain sorghum and maize hybrid from the 1950s, 1970s and 1990s under low and high water holding capacity soils, wide and narrow rows, and dryland and irrigated environments. 7. Conduct N rate and N use efficiency studies for grain sorghum production in El Salvador and Nicaragua. 8. Increase research human capital in West African countries where pearl millet is an important crop through graduate education, short-term training, mentoring former students upon return to their home country, and active participation in the West and Central Africa Pearl Millet Network. 9. Collaborate with national extension services and NGO/PVOs in transferring improved pearl millet agronomy practices.


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