Ultimate guide to Best fertilizer per crop in Kenya

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The use of fertilizer can easily double your farm yields and profits. But, you must use the right fertilizer blend at correct amounts. In this post, we will give you the fertilizer application rate per crop in Kenya.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture guidelines, you will need planting and topdressing fertilizers. You must be wondering now, how much fertilizer per square meter, per plant or acre? Known as fertilizer application rate, it is the quantity of fertilizers applied to a given piece of land or a plant. Its expressed as Kgs/Ha, bags/acre or g/tree.

 The article lists food crops such as vegetables; tomato, cabbage and carrots. Cereals like barley, maize and wheat and other cash crops like tea, coffee and sugarcane as well as fruit trees such as avocado, mango and citrus fruit trees.

Related: What you need to know about fertilizers

Fertilizer rate for every vegetable in Kenya

Looking for the fertilizer rate per horticulture crop in Kenya. Whether you are growing vegetables in a kitchen garden or you are in commercial vegetable farming, the following are the minimum recommended fertilizer rates;

  • Irish potatoes: The application rate for planting Irish potatoes is 500kg/Ha of DAP fertilizer.
  • Beetroot: Plant beetroot using 300kg/Ha of DAP phosphorus fertilizer.
  • Eggplants: To plant the Brinjals or the eggplant vegetable, use 120kg/Ha of NPK 23:23:0 compound fertilizer.
  • Broccoli: Broccoli vegetable needs planting fertilizer only. The recommended rate is 500kg/Ha pf DAP.
  • Cabbage: The cabbage vegetable needs 250kg/Ha of DAP planting fertilizer. For topdressing, use 250Kg/Ha of CAN nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Melon: To plant the vine vegetable, apply 200kg/Ha of TSP or DAP. For topdressing, apply 250kg/Ha of CAN fertilizer.
  • Carrots: The carrot vegetable has a recommended application rate of 200kg/Ha of DAP. The other option is 220 kg/Ha of DSP planting fertilizer. The application rate for topdressing is 200kg/Ha of CAN nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Cucumber: The vine vegetable requires 200kg/Ha of DSP planting fertilizer.
  • French beans: To plant the French beans, apply 200kg/Ha of DAP fertilizer and top-dress it by applying 100kg/Ha of CAN nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Garden Peas: Apply 200kg/ha of the TSP planting fertilizer to plant garden peas. Top dress with 150kg/ha of the CAN fertilizer.
  • Kales: During planting, apply 500 kg/Ha of DSP or 250kg/ha of Kales or vegetables. To topdress, apply 200kg/Ha of the CAN fertilizer in ha the sukumawiki vegetables.
  • Leeks: Leek vegetables require 250kg/Ha of DAP fertilizer to plant. In topdressing, apply 125kg/Ha of the CAN fertilizer.
  • Lettuce: During the planting stage, apply 200kg/Ha of lettuce vegetables. You can also use 400kg/Ha of the DSP fertilizer. It requires a top dressing of 125kg/Ha of the CAN fertilizer.
  • Onions: Plant the bulb onions in Kenya, apply 400kg/Ha of DSP K fertilizer. Other alternatives are 200Kg/Ha of TSP or 150Kg of DAP fertilizers. Onions require topdressing of 300kg/ha of CAN fertilizer.
  • Snow peas: To plant the Snow peas vegetables, apply 250kg/Ha of DAP K fertilizer. During topdressing, apply 200kg/Ha of CAN N fertilizer.
  • Tomato: Tomatoes require fertilizer application at the planting stage only. The recommended application rate is 200kg/Ha of DSP phosphate fertilizer or 100kg/Ha of DAP or TSP fertilizers.
  • Beans For most beans and other legume plant requires fertilizer for planting only. Its recommended application rate is 200kg/ha of DAP Fertilizers. The same rate is recommended for NPK 23:23:0 or the NPK 17:17:17 compound fertilizers.
  • Cowpeas Apply 100kg/Ha of DSP or 80Kg/Ha of the TSP fertilizer when planting the cowpeas for vegetables or pulses. For topdressing apply 150kg/Ha of CAN or 100Kg/Ha of Urea. Where the two are not available, plant using 150Kg/Ha pf the NPK 20:20:20 compound fertilizer. This does not need any topdressing.

Best Fertilizer for each cereal crop in Kenya

Are you a Cereals farmer looking for fertilizer rates for barley, maize and wheat or rice crops in Kenya. The following gives you the planting and top dressing rates. Its recommended to do a soil test and follow for accurate soil health management recommendations

  • Barley, There are two types of barley in Kenya.
    • Normal barley, apply 90 kg/ha of DAP at planting stage and top dress it with 300kg/Ha of CAN or 90kg/Ha of ASN.
    • Malting barley, plant it using 90 kg/ha of DAP and top dress it with 180 kg of CAN fertilizer per Ha.  The alternative is to apply100 kg/Ha of MAP and top dress it with 90kg/Ha of ASN.
  • Maize, to plant maize, use either 150-200 kg/Ha of DAP, 150 kg/Ha per of TSP or 200 kg/Ha of NPK 23:23:0. When maize is almost flowering, top dress it using either 250Kg/Ha of CAN or 150 kg of Urea.
  • Wheat. the volume of fertilizers you use to grow wheat depends on the year of the crop.
    • virgin land or year one use 130kg/Ha of NPK 11:52:0 fertilizer.
    • 2nd year planting, use 130 kg/Ha of DAP.
    • 3rd year, apply 109 kg/ha and
    • 4th year 87Kg/Ha of DAP.
    • 4 years plus , use 200kg/Ha of NPK fertilizer 20:20:0.
  • Rice, Rice has 3 key stages of fertilizer application, sowing, transplanting and topdressing.
    • sowing rice seeds in the nursery use 160 kg/Ha of DAP fertilizer.
    • Transplanting, use either the 100kg/Ha of DAP, 100kg/Ha of NPK 17:17:17 or the NPK 23:23:0.
    • Top dressing, use 180 kg/Ha of SA fertilizer or 100Kg/Ha of CAN.
  • Millet To plant millet, use 120kg/Ha of DAP or 180Kg/Ha of MAP phosphate fertilizer. During the topdressing stage, use 125kg/Ha of CAN nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Sorghum Apply 120kg/Ha of DAP or 180 Kg/Ha of MAP for basal application when you are planting. For topdressing apply 100kg/Ha of the CAN fertilizer.

Best Fertilizer for fruits trees in Kenya

Unlike the horticulture and grain crops above, The fruit trees in Kenya are perennial plants requiring fertilizer application for a long period of time.

  • Avocado, the fertilizer rate for your avocado trees depends on its age. The table below summarizes the recommended fertilizer application rates for Hass and Fuerte avocado trees per age. The rate in g/tree for CAN and TSP fertilizers.
Age of Avocado treeCAN fertilizer (g/tree)TSP fertilizer (g/tree)
1-3 years 120 120
4-5 years 220 450
6-7 years 450 650
Over 8 years 650 650
  • Bananas, to plant the Bananas, apply 200kg/Ha of DAP planting fertilizer or 150Kg/Ha of NPK 23:23:0. During topdressing, apply 300kg of CAN fertilizer.
  • Citrus, The fertilizer application rate for citrus fruits like lemon, lime, pixie oranges depends on the age of the tree. The table below summarizes the rate in g/tree for CAN and TSP fertilizers.
Age of citrus fruit treeCAN fertilizer (g/tree)TSP fertilizer (g/tree)
1-3 years 200 150
4-5 years 400 500
Over 5 years 600 1000
Recommended fertilizer application rates for orange and other citrus fruits
  • Mango, the recommended fertilizer application rate for Mango trees depends on the age of the tree. In year 1-3 apply 150g/tree of TSP or DAP fertilizer and 240g/tree of CAN. In year 4-5 apply 400g/tree of CAN and 500g/tree of TSP or DAP. Over 5-7 years apply 400g/mango tree of CAN and 1000g/tree of DAP or TSP phosphate(K) fertilizers.
Age of mango treeCAN fertilizer (g/tree)TSP or DAP fertilizer (g/tree)
1-3 years 240 150
4-5 years 400 500
Over 5 years 400 1000
Recommended fertilizer application rates for mango trees
  • Passion fruits, to plant the passion fruits, the recommended fertilizer application rate is 200Kg/Ha of TSP or DAP phosphorus (P) fertilizer. For topdressing apply 300Kg/Ha of the CAN fertilizer.
  • Pineapples, The sweet fruit has a recommendation rate of 500 kg/ha of DAP. Besides you can use 250kg/Ha of NPK 23:23:0 to plant pineapples or 200kg/Ha of the SA fertilizer. To get sweet pineapples, top-dress them by applying 200kg/Ha of urea nitrogen fertilizer

Fertilizer rates for cash crops in Kenya

Cost of fertilizers is a key determiner in profitability of key cash crops in kenya such as tea, coffee and sugarcane. These two require perpetual application of fertilizers over long periods of time. the following are the top rates.

  1. Tea, to plant and top-dress tea, use an acidic compound fertilizer like NPK 26:5:5 or 20:10:10. In the 1st year, apply 180kg/ha (6g per plant) 6 weeks after transplanting and thereafter at 8 weeks intervals up to the end of the first year. In the 2nd year, apply 160kg/ha (15g/bush) every 3 months. In the 3rd year, Apply 720kg/ha (67g/bush) once. The same applies in the 4th year where you Apply 920kg/ha (86g/bush) once.5th year, Prune and then apply 600kg/ha (56 g/bush) at tipping.
Age of tea BushesNPK 26:5:5 or 20:10:10. (g/tree)NPK 26:5:5 or 20:10:10. (Kg/Ha)
Year 1 6 180*6
Year 2 15 160*4
Year 3 67 720*1
Year 4 86 920
Year 5 56 600
Recommended fertilizer application rates for tea
  • Sugarcane, to Plant sugarcane, use 2-3.5 bags/ha of DAP or 6-9 bags/ha of the SSP fertilizer. To top dress apply 4-5 bags/ha of urea or 8-9 bags/ha CAN depending on your agrozone and crop cycle.

Read more:

  •  Ministry of Agriculture (2012): Crops Extension Pocket Handbook  Vol. 1 – Field Crops.
  •  Fertilizer Consumption & Fertilizer use by Crop (FUBC) in Kenya, September 2015

Read Next : Where to buy fertilizers in Kenya

S.K is the founder and senior agribusiness development consultant at Agcenture. He can be reached at info@agcenture.com

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