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Leaching and volatilization of nitrogen in paddy rice under different nitrogen management

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Abstract

Nitrogen (N) losses from agriculture through leaching and volatilization have significant environmental and economic impacts. To find better options for reducing N losses, different N management approaches were compared to determine leaching losses of Nr (NH4+-N and NO3-N) and ammonia (NH3) volatilization from wetland rice. The experiment comprised seven treatments, viz., zero N (control), recommended dose of N (RDN), 125% of RDN (RDN125), 75% of RDN (RDN75), cowdung 2 t ha−1 + supplemented N (CDSupN), biochar 2 t ha−1 + RDN (BRDN), and deep placement of urea super granules (USG). The recommended N rates of prilled urea were 186 kg ha−1 in the Boro (dry season) and 102 kg ha−1 in the Aman (wet season), while those for USG were 95 kg ha−1 in the Boro season and 75 kg ha−1 in the Aman season. The study was conducted in four consecutive seasons of Boro and Aman rice. Leaching losses of NH4+-N varied between 1.3 and 9.4 kg ha−1 in the Boro season and 0.9 and 5.9 kg ha−1 in the Aman season, while leaching of NO3-N ranged from 1.4 to 11.8 kg ha−1 in Boro season and 0.7 to 4.4 kg ha−1 in Aman season. During the four consecutive rice growing seasons, N leaching and NH3 volatilization losses followed the order of RDN125 > RDN > RDN75 > CDSupN > BRDN > USG > control. Compared with the applied N, the N leaching losses were only 3% in the BRDN and 4–5% in the USG treatments which were almost half that of the RDN125 and RDN treatments. In proportion to the applied N, the N volatilization losses were only 8–9% in the BRDN and 5–6% in the USG treatments which were almost half as that in the RDN125 and RDN treatments. Losses by NH3 volatilization exceeded losses by leaching across all N treatments. Compared with the RDN treatment, grain yield increased by 15% in the BRDN and 8% in the USG treatments in the Boro season, while for the Aman season there was a 17% increase in the BRDN and 9% in the USG. Biochar with RDN and USG had the greatest potential to reduce N losses without loss of rice yields and can therefore be recommended as improved practices for rice-growing farmers.

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Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the UK Research and Innovation for funding this research through the South Asian Nitrogen Hub (SANH) under the Global Challenge Research Fund (Grant Ref. Number NE/S009019/1). This article is a contribution of the ‘Towards the International Nitrogen Management Systems (Towards INMS)’ project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) / United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and to the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI).

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This paper results from research funded by UKRI GCRF South Asian Nitrogen Hub (SANH). The project team includes partners from across South Asia and the UK.

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The study was planned and designed by Md. Mizanur Rahman and Robert Martin Rees, while Majharul Islam and Mohammad Saiful Alam carried out the research, which included a review of the literature, field experimentation and data analysis. Majharul Islam drafted the manuscript which was edited and improved by Md. Mizanur Rahman, Robert Martin Rees, Julia Drewer, Mark A Sutton and Arti Bhatia. GKM Mustafizur Rahman, Md. Giashuddin Miah, and Mark A Sutton provided suggestions for improving the manuscript which was properly addressed by Majharul Islam. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Md. Mizanur Rahman.

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Islam, M., Rahman, M.M., Alam, M.S. et al. Leaching and volatilization of nitrogen in paddy rice under different nitrogen management. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10705-024-10361-w

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