Rice establishment method affects nitrogen use and crop production of rice-legume systems in drought-prone eastern India uri icon

abstract

  • The inclusion of grain legumes in rainfed lowland rice farming systems provides an opportunity to increase food production, household income, and human nutrition of impoverished rice fanners in Asia. We examined the effect of rice establishment method on the performance of wet season rice (Oryza sativa L.) and post-rice crops of either chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) or moong [Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek] on an Udic Haplustalf in the drought-prone, rainfed lowlands of eastern India. Rice was either direct seeded in lines on moist soil immediately after the onset of wet season rain or transplanted after sufficient rainwater accumulated for soil submergence. Crop establishment method had no effect on rice performance in a season (200 1) with normal rainfall. In a drought season (2002), direct seeding resulted in mean rice grain yield of 2.3 t ha(-1), whereas the transplanted rice crop failed. The agronomic efficiency of N fertilizer applied to direct-seeded rice was comparable for the 2 years (18 and 24 kg grain per kg N applied). Topsoil inorganic N was markedly higher following chickpea and moong than following a post-rice fallow. Direct-seeded rice had higher yield and accumulation of N following a post-rice legume than following fallow, but transplanted rice derived no such benefit from the legume. Direct-seeded rice was established 1-2 months before transplanted rice, and direct-seeded rice matured before transplanted rice by 8 days in the favorable season and by 26 days in the drought season. The soil nitrate present after legumes and fallow rapidly disappeared, presumably by denitrification, following the onset of rains and soil flooding prior to transplanting. A portion of this accumulated soil nitrate was taken up by the direct-seeded rice before it could be lost. But transplanted rice did not benefit from this inorganic N derived from legumes because virtually all soil nitrate was lost before transplanting. Direct seeding of rice ensured better use of residual and applied N, reduced risk due to drought, and favored intensification with post-rice legumes in drought-prone lowland systems. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2005
  • 2005
  • 2005