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Nitrogen-15 balances and nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency in upland rice


Field experiments were conducted in the 1984 and 1985 wet seasons to determine the effect of N fertilizer application method on15N balances and yield for upland rice (Oryza sativa L.) on an Udic Arguistoll in the Philippines. The test cultivars were ‘IR43’ and ‘UPLRi-5’ in 1984 and ‘IR43’ in 1985. Unrecovered15N in15N balances for 70 kg applied urea-N ha−1, which represented N fertilizer losses as gases and movement below 0.5 m soil depth, ranged from 11–58% of the applied N. It was lowest (11–13%) for urea split applied at 30 days after seeding (DS) and at panicle initiation (PI), and highest (27–58%) for treatments receiving basal urea in the seed furrows. In all treatments with basal-applied urea, most N losses occurred before 50 DS.

Heavy rainfall in 1985 before rice emergence resulted in large losses of native soil N and fertilizer N by leaching and possibly by denitrification. During the week of seeding, when rainfall was 492 mm, 91 kg nitrate-N ha−1 disappeared from the 0.3-m soil layer in unfertilized plots. Although rainfall following the basal N application was less in 1984 than in 1985, the losses from basal applied urea-N were comparable in the two years. Daily rainfall of 20–25 mm on 3 of the 6 days following basal N application in 1984 may have created a moist soil environment favorable for ammonia volatilization.

In both years, highest grain yield was obtained for urea split-applied at 30 DS and at PI. Delayed rather than basal application of N reduced losses of fertilizer N and minimized uptake of fertilizer N by weeds.

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De Datta, S.K., Buresh, R.J., Obcemea, W.N. et al. Nitrogen-15 balances and nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency in upland rice. Fertilizer Research 26, 179–187 (1990).

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Key words

  • Nitrogen balance
  • N loss
  • urea
  • nitrate
  • leaching
  • Oryza sativa L.
  • upland rice