IPI International Potash Institute
IPI International Potash Institute

Research Findings: e-ifc No. 47, December 2016

Photo by G. Kalyan.

Polyhalite Application Improves Coffee (Coffea robusta) Yield and Quality in Vietnam

Article from report contributed by PVFCCo, Vietnam(1)
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(1)Petrovietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Corporation (PVFCCo), Vietnam
Contact: ipi@ipipotash.org

Vietnam produces around 1.2 million tons of coffee per year, the second highest yield in the world after Brazil. Improving resource utilization efficiency has recently been determined as the major strategic goal of the industry. Appropriate mineral nutrition practices are pivotal to achieving these goals. The humid, tropical climate and acid soils create considerable challenges to achieving the optimum balance for crop nutrition practices. The availability of alkaline elements, particularly potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg), is steadily declining. Polyhalite, a natural marine sedimentary mineral consisting of a hydrated sulfate of K, Ca, Mg and sulfur (S, 48%) was examined as a potential additive to composite NPK fertilizers. The mineral was tested as part of an alternative fertilization program for the coffee industry in the Lam Dong province. An experiment testing three fertilization practices (CT1 - farmers’ practice control; CT2 - employing composite NPKS but lacking Ca and Mg; and, CT3 - similar to CT2, with additional polyhalite applications) was carried out in Bao Lam (reddish brown soil) and Di Linh (grey soil) during 2016. In both districts, CT2 was significantly more profitable than CT1, and CT3 more so than CT2. The results suggest that the common coffee fertilization practice (CT1) in these regions of Vietnam may be considerably improved using additional S fertilizers. The availability of Ca and Mg appears to be significant to coffee crop production, and their increased application should be considered. Added to a systematic NPK fertilization program, polyhalite enhanced coffee yields and quality parameters, thus increasing productivity by 9-11.5% and raising profits by 10 and 14% at Di Linh and Bao Lam, respectively. Polysulphate demonstrated an ability to supply plant Ca and Mg requirements and maintain soil fertility, whilst supporting greater biomass production, compared to the alternative fertilization programs.

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