Farmer adoption of improved nitrogen management technologies in rice farming: technical constraints and opportunities for improvement uri icon

abstract

  • Generally, agricultural research is conducted under the controlled conditions of research stations which, in many cases, do not represent farmers' circumstances. Thus, several technologies do not perform well in farmers' fields and so are not adopted by farmers. Many technical factors and management practices constrain the adoption of improved technologies including efficient N management techniques: (a) poor water control; (b) low plant population; (c) partial nutrient application; (d) insufficient weed control; (e) untimely sowing, transplanting, weeding, and/or harvesting; and (f) poor postharvest processing. Unless farmers improve many, if not all, of these conditions, they cannot reap the full benefits of modern rice varieties and related production technologies. In addition, soil-related constraints such as high spatial and temporal variability in nutrient status, nutrient imbalance, poor drainage, soil degradation (salinity, alkalinity, acidity), and subsoil compaction lessen the effectiveness of nutrient management techniques. Similarly, climatic factors such as variable and unpredictable rainfall, drought, flood, low radiation, and extremes in temperature affect crop growth and nutrient use in rice systems. Most of these factors are beyond farmers' control. Stress-tolerant rice varieties and improved management practices are being developed and evaluated on rice farms to tackle soil and climatic constraints, especially in rainfed lowland rice systems. Two of the management strategies rely on better N placement techniques and use of controlled-release fertilizers to improve nutrient use efficiency in rainfed lowlands. Some tools for site-specific N management in rice include chlorophyll meter and leaf color chart which are being evaluated on farmers' fields. Another strategy is the integrated nutrient management to enhance crop nutrition and minimize fertilizer costs. Adequate farmer training is needed to receive, process, and effectively exploit improved rice varieties and related information, knowledge, and technologies.

publication date

  • 1999
  • 1999
  • 1999