Application of15N-labelled urea to sugar cane through a drip-irrigation system in Mauritius
Nitrogen (N) fertilizer use efficiency by sugar cane in Mauritius rarely exceeds 40%. Since drip-irrigation delivers water uniformly and directly to the root zone with little run-off, application of N via the drip-irrigation system could therefore provide a means of enhancing fertilizer N use by sugar cane.
A study was initiated in Mauritius to determine what benefits would accrue from applying urea (120 kg N per ha) to sugar cane through the drip-irrigation network. The data obtained showed that the efficiency of fertilizer N when measured at harvest was nearly doubled by supplying the N daily over 10 to 20 weeks by fertigation. Increased yields of sugar or cane did not, however, accompany the improved N use efficiency. Furthermore, when N was applied through the drip-irrigation network, recovery of N at harvest did not accurately reflect N use efficiency.
Key wordsdrip-fertigation efficiency nitrogen sugar cane uptake yield
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