Addressing Heterogeneity of Maize Yield and Nitrogen Use Efficiency in India: Farm-specific Fertilizer Recommendation from the Nutrient Expert® Tool

Kaushik Majumdar1, Sudarshan Dutta1, T. Satyanarayana1, Hirak Banerjee2, Rupak Goswami3, Vishal Shahi1, Mirasol Pampolino4, M. L. Jat5 and Adrian Johnston6

1 International Plant Nutrition Institute-South Asia Program, Gurgaon, Haryana, India, 122016,, ;

2 Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal, India; 3 IRDM Faculty Centre, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, Kolkata, India, 700103; 4 International Plant Nutrition Institute-South East Asia Program, Los Banos, Philippines; 5 International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, New Delhi, India; 6 International Plant Nutrition Institute, Saskatoon, CANADA S7N 3R3


Maize is an important contributor to food security in India. It is grown in diversified environments, and under variable management practices. Increasing demand for maize from multiple sectors, and its resilience to abiotic and biotic stresses, have made it a choice crop among farmers. Appropriate fertilizer management is important for sustainably intensifying maize systems in India. However, smallholder farmers’ fertilizer management in maize is generally more perception-based than science-based due to lack of appropriate guidance. This often leads to imbalanced fertilizer application by the farmers, with loss of yield and large environmental footprint from fertilizer use. The current study uses a fertilizer recommendation tool, Nutrient Expert® for maize, to provide field specific fertilizer recommendations to farmers of two distinct maize growing ecologies of Eastern and Southern India. The on-farm results, comparing the Nutrient Expert® tool-based recommendation and existing farmers’ fertilizer practices, showed that fertilizer recommendation from the tool improved maize yield and nitrogen use efficiency as compared to existing farmers’ practices, irrespective of scale of investigation ranging from regions, cropping seasons within regions, and farm typologies within states in a region.