News

Mini-symposium: "Soil organic matter and nutrient use efficiency in the tropics"

Published on
November 18, 2019

Date: 28th November 2019

Time:14:00-18:00

Location: W.01 (Radix, ground floor)

Tentative Programme:

14:00-14:30 Bernard Vanlauwe

Evaluating balanced fertilizer solutions: From soil analysis to application in the field

14:30-15:00 Hein ten Berge:

Minimum nutrient requirements

15:00-15:30 Tony Vyn

Reflections on advancing nitrogen recovery efficiency in North American and African maize production systems

15:30-16:00 Coffee break

16:00-16:30 Ellis Hoffland:

Ecofunctionality of soil organic matter – A literature review

16:30-17:00 Discussion led by prof. Ken Giller


A better fertilization of crops is key for agricultural development and food security for the growing African population. Increasing fertilizer applications in the developed and developing countries was a large success in terms of food production, yet environmental consequences are dire and still felt today. Optimal fertilization, combining high productivity with minimal environmental impact and attention for other ecosystem functions of the land is key.

The mini-symposium takes place in the afternoon, shortly after the defence of the thesis of Samuel Njoroge Kinyanjui at 11 AM in the Aula of the WU with the title “Feed the crop, not the soil! Explaining variability in maize yield response to nutrient applications in smallholder farms of western Kenya”. His opponents Prof Ellis Hoffland, Dr Bernard Vanlauwe, Prof. Tony Vyn and Dr Hein ten Berge are all well-known specialists in crop nutrition and organic matter.

In this mini-symposium, these international experts will share their findings, experiences and insights on best practises and improvements in relation to nutrient use efficiency and future nutrient requirements to increase food production for the growing African population. Lastly, Prof Ellis Hoffland shares latest insights in eco-functionality of organic matter, providing a broader overview of relationships between inputs, quality of organic matter and its decomposing community and broader ecosystem functions. Prof Ken Giller will lead the general discussion that follows.