Soil Nutrient Management in Tropical Soils

Project Overview

ES20-152
Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $69,335.00
Projected End Date: 07/01/2021
Grant Recipient: University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Region: Southern
State: Puerto Rico
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Daniel Bair
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Co-Investigators:
Dr. Miguel Muñoz
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Mario Rodriguez
USDA-NRCS Caribbean Area

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Crop Production: nutrient management
  • Education and Training: extension
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    The objective of this project is to provide soil nutrient management training for the agricultural agents of the Agricultural Extension Service (SEA) of Puerto Rico. The Agricultural Extension Service in Puerto Rico has been without a soils specialist for over 15 years. During this time there has been a lack of soils instruction and education for the agricultural agents across the island. In addition, there has also been an absence of soils publications within SEA. This has contributed to deficiencies in soils management, specifically soil nutrient management, at the farm level where under/over fertilization, due to lack of knowledge, is affecting crop production and soil sustainability. The SEA agents impact hundreds of farmers throughout the year, and provide informal education to improve their yield. They require adequate training by specialists to improve the information and education they provide to their target audience. The goal is to instruct the agents and provide them with the resources to then teach and support the farmers in their respective areas. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The overall objective of this project is to provide soil nutrient management training for the agricultural agents of the Agricultural Extension Service (SEA) of Puerto Rico. 

    The individual objectives of the project are the following:

    1.   Provide training in soil sampling, soil analysis interpretation, nutrient recommendation, soil nutrient management, and soil quality/health for the agricultural agents. This training will be given to each of the 5 regions (Arecibo, Gurabo, Mayaguez, Ponce, San Juan) of SEA that cover Puerto Rico.  SEA is comprised of 54 local offices with 60 Agricultural Agents that serve 1167 farmers throughout the island. 

    The training will be comprised of three full-day sessions that will occur over the course of one year. A simple post- training questionnaire will be provided to participants using an online survey to confirm increase of knowledge on the subject.

    1.   Produce technical notes and at least three videos on soil related topics pertinent to tropical agriculture in Puerto Rico throughout the life of the project. Views will be reported as they are uploaded to the website. 
    2.   Develop a website where soils information, publications and videos can be accessed. One website and social media accounts (facebook, instagram) will be developed and the number of videos uploaded and watched will be reported to address accessibility and outreach.
    3.   Create an agricultural fertilizer calculator that can be used online or as an application on a phone. Provide different options of agricultural fertilizer calculator apps in Spanish and English (as available) to be posted on the website and social media for use by agents and farmers throughout the life of the project. 
    4.   Purchase soil sampling and field analysis instruments that each region can house and that both the agricultural agents and farmers can use, allowing for implementation of knowledge acquired through the proposed initiative. 
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.