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Poultry litter as a nitrogen and phosphorous source for the rice–wheat cropping system

Abstract

Poultry litter (PL) is an important nutrient source; however, no information is available regarding its value in supplying N and P in rice–wheat (RW) production. A three-year field study was conducted at Ludhiana, Punjab, India on a loamy sand soil to identify optimum combination of PL and N and P fertilizers for a sustainable RW production. The litter was applied to rice at 5 Mg ha−1 as a single application and supplemented with different rates of N. The residual effect of PL and the direct effects of the different combinations of N and P were studied in the following wheat. Nitrogen and P mineralization from PL was studied under controlled conditions in the laboratory, and macronutrient input–output balances were estimated from field results. About 46% of the N from PL was released after 60 days of incubation. The release of P from the PL occurred mainly during the initial 20 days after incubation, accounting for 15–17% of the total P. Combining PL with fertilizer N (40 kg ha−1) increased rice yield and nutrient uptake similar to what was obtained with the application of recommended fertilizer N (120 kg ha−1). In the following wheat, the residual effect of PL was equal to 30 kg N ha−1 and 13 kg P ha−1. After three annual cropping cycles and PL application, mean soil organic C increased by 17%, Olsen-P by 73%, and NH4OAc-extractable-K by 24%. Most treatments had positive P but negative K balances. About 11% of the net P balance was recovered from the soil as Olsen-P. The study showed that optimum N and P fertilizer doses for an RW system receiving 5 Mg ha−1 of PL are 40 kg N ha−1 for rice and 90 kg N + 13 kg P ha−1 for the following wheat. Safe and effective management of PL should be based on P balance, particularly when regular applications of PL are to be made in the RW system.

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Correspondence to J. K. Ladha.

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Yadvinder-Singh, Gupta, R.K., Thind, H.S. et al. Poultry litter as a nitrogen and phosphorous source for the rice–wheat cropping system. Biol Fertil Soils 45, 701–710 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-009-0373-z

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Keywords

  • Nitrogen
  • Nutrient balances
  • Nutrient management
  • N mineralization
  • Phosphorus
  • Poultry litter
  • Rice–wheat system
  • Soil fertility