Home Blog Direct Seeding Nitrogen-Fixing Trees...made easy and reliable for farmers
Dec 13
2010

Direct Seeding Nitrogen-Fixing Trees...made easy and reliable for farmers

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

Poor farmers can now seed multipurpose hedges directly providing fuel, protein rich drought tolerant feed, soil-and-water-conservation, organic manure, stalks for climbing crops, nectar for bees, building poles, fences and firebreaks etc.



Hedge of Calliandra calothyrsus direct seeded by small scale farmer in western Kenya.  The tied cow feeding further promotes branching.  Link to Research (Mandal)

From Torsten Mandal,  Agronomist, GMf Associate
"By far most of the energy supply in e.g. Africa south of the Sahara is from fuel wood. That can cause deforestation OR make sustainable agroforestry and forestry profitable and attractive. In collaboration with Professor NE Nielsen and others, I developed methods making direct seeding (without transplanting) easy and reliable for farmers in e.g. western Kenya seeding nitrogen fixing trees from the legume family. Using ash as fertilizer was an important part of the method. Methods making e.g. wood production from the trees between crops easier were also developed.  It may also make rural electricity based on fuel wood fully sustainable."


An example of a farm in India using a direct seeding method of growing rice.

Download Abstract:
From the peer-reviewed journal Agroforestry Systems  - Direct seeding methods for nitrogen (N)-fixing tree-legumes by small-scale farmers were developed and studied in humid and sub-humid areas of western Kenya. We focused on the first six months of establishment of calliandra (Calliandra calothyrsus Meissner) multipurpose hedgerows. Direct seeding became effective, reliable, and significantly better than for zero-control treatments when improving A) water uptake by scratching the hard seeds with a sandal against a hard, rough surface, B) phosphorus (P) nutrition by mixing 150 g/m of kitchen wood-ash (1.3% P) into a 10 cm deep, 20 wide cm soil band 5 cm below the seeds, and C) root nodulation by transferring 100 g/m Rhizobium-colonised soil, or 0.5 crushed, incubated nodule, from a calliandra hedge. The field germination was 90% after two weeks, and the hedges were green and about 2 m tall in the dry season six months later.

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