Optimizing root yield of cassava under fertigation and the masked effect of atmospheric temperature

John Okoth Omondi, Uri Yermiyahu, Shimon Rachmilevitch, Steve Boahen, Pheneas Ntawuruhunga, Eldad Sokolowski, Naftali Lazarovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Fertigation is a rare and an expensive method of fertilizer application to cassava, and hence there is a need to optimize its efficiency for profitability. This study's objective was to optimize root yield of cassava through fertigation using a logistic model. RESULTS: The field treatments were six fertigation concentrations against three cassava varieties, selected according to their maturity period. The logistic model predicted 52%, 116% and 281% benefit of fertigation for the varieties Mweru, Kampolombo and Nalumino, respectively. Furthermore, only half of the amount of fertilizer applied for Mweru was required to achieve twice the root yield of Kampolombo. During the experiment, an unknown importance of atmospheric temperature to cassava and its relationship to fertigation was observed. An elevation of 3.7 °C in atmospheric temperature led to 226%, 364% and 265% increase in root yield of Mweru, Kampolombo and Nalumino, respectively. Conversely, shoot biomass and root yield declined when the average atmospheric temperatures dropped by 3.6 °C. However, the cold temperatures affected the short-growth-duration (Mweru) and medium-growth-duration (Kampolombo) varieties earlier, 22 days after the drop, than the long-growth-duration variety (Nalumino) – 50 days after the drop. CONCLUSION: Fertigation induced resilience of the shoot biomass production to cold which was most pronounced in the root yield of Mweru in response to the highest fertigation concentration. Thus, while fertigation improved cassava's resilience to cold, it only did so effectively for short-growth-duration variety, Mweru. Also, enhanced performance of cassava under increased atmospheric temperature indicated its importance as a climate-smart crop.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4592-4600
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • fertilizer
  • growth-equations
  • irrigation
  • macro-nutrients
  • models
  • root-crops

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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