Farmer participatory testing of standard and modified site-specific nitrogen management for irrigated rice in China uri icon

abstract

  • Rice in China receives high amounts of fertilizer nitrogen (N) that are often not used efficiently by the crop. A recently developed sitespecific N management (SSNM) approach enables the application of fertilizer N to dynamically match the field- and season-specific needs of the rice crop for N. We used farmer participatory research for on-farm testing of N fertilization by standard and farmer-modified SSNM for irrigated rice. Our study was done in 14 villages in four provinces of China in 2003 and 2004. Twelve to 15 farmers were randomly selected in each study village in each year for a dialogue with the research team and for a rapid rural technology assessment (RRTA). Based on the information obtained from the RRTA, modified SSNM (MSSNM) schemes were developed through dialogue between a research team and farmers at a workshop in each village. Modification mainly involved decreasing the number of fertilizer-N topdressings and increasing the rate of basal IN application. Among the 514 farmers surveyed during the workshops, 95% were willing to adopt SSNM and MSSNM technologies and 76% were willing to conduct SSNM or MSSNM experiments. More than twothirds of the farmers preferred adopting MSSNM rather than the standard SSNM. Based on the farmers' willingness, 144 farmers were selected to conduct an experiment to compare SSNM or MSSNM with the farmers' fertilizer practices (FFP). The rate and distribution of fertilizer N during the growing season of MSSNM were in between those of SSNM and FFP. SSNM and MSSNM, compared with FFP, maintained rice yields with significantly less fertilizer N and no significant increase in total labour input. The reduction in fertilizerN input averaged 48 kg N/ha for SSNM and 23 kg N/ha for MSSNM. The study suggests that there is potential for large-scale dissemination of SSNM technology in China. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2007
  • 2007
  • 2007