The Core Trials are a set of long-term fertilizer experiments established in the major cocoa-growing regions around the world. The Core Trials focus on testing different rates of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in different combinations to elucidate the yield responses to different nutrients and different nutrient combinations. There are in total nine Core Trials sites established in Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador and Indonesia.

Core Trial, Indonesia – October 2021

The second round of straw mulch and fertilizer applications has ended. Thinning out of banana shades is underway and is expected to be completed at the end of November 2021. The banana shades will be removed from the plots in December 2021 prior to fertilizer treatment. Barcode labelling was completed in September 2021.

Core Trial, Ibadan – December 2021

Many of the cocoa trees at the site are producing pods.  Managers are providing supplementary irrigation to help the trees withstand the stress of the dry season.

 Core Trial, Ibadan – September, 2021

Cocoa trees are in good condition. In at least 30 or 40 of the plots, the large trees are flowering and growing pods. The plantain in the trial plots has been removed or reduced to a single stem to prevent damages to the flushing leaves by abrasion with plantain leaves. The plots that are not part of the fertilizer trial are used to look into the effects of continued plantain growth and shade and the effects of chupon removal versus retention. These plots do not receive fertilizer.

CNRA, Côte d’Ivoire – July 2021

Site managers have replaced dead and underperforming trees. Preparations are underway for the application of the second split of fertilizer in September.

Core Trial, Indonesia  – September 2021

The cocoa trees were planted in August 2020 and are in good condition.  Regular crop maintenance for September 2021 includes a second straw application and pest-disease monitoring. The banana shade trees on the plots will be removed at the beginning of the rainy season, prior to fertilizer trials.