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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Agronomic management response in maize (Zea mays L.) production across three agroecological zones of Kenya

Kipkulei, Harison Kiplagat; Bellingrath-Kimura, Sonoko Dorothea; Lana, Marcos; Ghazaryan, Gohar; Baatz, Roland; Matavel, Custodio; Boitt, Mark; Chisanga, Charles B.; Rotich, Brian; Moreira, Rodrigo Martins; Sieber, Stefan


Maize (Zea mays L.) productivity in Kenya has witnessed a decline attributed to the effects of climate change and biophysical constraints. The assessment of agronomic practices across agroecological zones (AEZs) is limited by inadequate data quality, hindering a precise evaluation of maize yield on a large scale. In this study, we employed the DSSAT-CERES-Maize crop model (where CERES is Crop Environment Resource Synthesis and DSSAT is Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer) to investigate the impacts of different agronomic practices on maize yield across different AEZs in two counties of Kenya. The model was calibrated and evaluated with observed grain yield, biomass, leaf area index, phenology, and soil water content from 2-year experiments. Remote sensing (RS) images derived from the Sentinel-2 satellite were integrated to delineate maize areas, and the resulting information was merged with DSSAT-CERES-Maize yield simulations. This facilitated a comprehensive quantification of various agronomic measures at pixel scales. Evaluation of agronomic measures revealed that sowing dates and cultivar types significantly influenced maize yield across the AEZs. Notably, AEZ II and AEZ III exhibited elevated yields when implementing combined practices of early sowing and cultivar H614. The impacts of optimal management practices varied across the AEZs, resulting in yield increases of 81, 115, and 202 kg ha-1 in AEZ I, AEZ II, and AEZ III, respectively. This study underscores the potential of the CERES-Maize model and high-resolution RS data in estimating production at larger scales. Furthermore, this integrated approach holds promise for supporting agricultural decision-making and designing optimal strategies to enhance productivity while accounting for site-specific conditions.

Published in

Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment
2024, Volume: 7, number: 1, article number: e20478
Publisher: WILEY

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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