AS  Vol.10 No.10 , October 2019
Maize Cannot Be Grown in Xiengkhouang Province?
Abstract: During a 2005 visit with National Agricultural and Forestry Institute (NAFRI) Director, Dr. Kouang Doungsila issued a challenge to these authors to determine if it was true that crops could not be grown in the extensive uplands of Xiengkhouang Province, Laos PDR. In response, a two-phase series of experiments was proposed and implemented. The Phase I experiment was to bring soil from the Xiengkhouang province uplands to a NAFRI greenhouse near Vientiane to assess possible nutrient requirements using a nutrient omission experiment. Simultaneously, soils were collected and analyzed from seven recognized agricultural regions of Laos. The initial Vientiane greenhouse experiment indicated that maize did grow, but there were multiple issues of extreme soil acidity and clear deficiencies of phosphorus and other nutrients. Phase II of the study included field studies on the site of soil selected for the greenhouse study. Field experiments were carried out for two years at the site with yields of maize exceeding 5500 kg⋅ha−1 in the first year and exceeding 6250 kg⋅ha−1 in a subsequent year. Intense symptoms of nutrient zinc (Zn) deficiency were observed, however. In 2008 another experiment was designed and carried out that included a Zn variable. The results from that experiment confirmed that maize yields nearing 6000 kg⋅ha−1 were indeed possible. Substantial amounts of lime were needed to correct the strong soil acidity, and a series of other nutrients including N, P, K, and Zn were also required. Ongoing issues are where to obtain the extensive amounts of limestone needed as well as an evaluation of the residual effect of the limestone The finely ground, very reactive burnt lime residual effect was, as expected, short-lived. The results clearly demonstrated that, indeed, it was possible for maize to be produced in the extensive uplands of Xiengkhouang province, in answer to Director Khouang’s challenging question.
Cite this paper: Souliyavongsa, X. , Sipaseuth, N. , Dounphady, K. , Attanandana, T. , Kanghae, P. , Yost, R. , Yampracha, S. and Kunaporn, S. (2019) Maize Cannot Be Grown in Xiengkhouang Province?. Agricultural Sciences, 10, 1359-1369. doi: 10.4236/as.2019.1010099.

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