Soil Fertility and Indigenous Nutrient Supply in Irrigated Rice Domains of Asia
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Knowledge-intensive approaches have been proposed to manage the variability in indigenous nutrient supplies (IS) in irrigated rice (Oryza sativa L.) systems. On-farm experiments were conducted at 155 locations in seven domains of Asia to quantify the variability of soil properties, grain yield, and nutrient uptake in N, P, and K omission plots (0-N, 0-P, and 0-K, respectively). Except for pH, coefficients of variation of soil properties within a domain ranged from 17 to 43%. Similar ranges were measured for grain yield and plant nutrient uptake in nutrient omission plots, which served as crop-based estimates of indigenous N, P, and K supply. Soil properties showed little association with plant nutrient uptake or grain yield in nutrient omission plots. Mean grain yields in nutrient omission plots increased in the order 0-N (3.9 Mg ha(-1)) < 0-K (5.1 Mg ha(-1)) less than or equal to 0-P (5.2 Mg ha(-1)). Soils, climate, and crop management caused large variability of IS among irrigated rice domains, years, growing seasons, and fields within a domain. Grain yield and nutrient uptake in omission plots were mostly higher in high-yielding than in low-yielding climatic seasons. No changes in indigenous N supply occurred for periods of 4 to 6 yr in the same seasons. Grain yields in nutrient omission plots were strongly correlated with each other and also with the yield in the fertilized farmers' fields. Fertilizer recommendations should be fine-tuned to spatial domains with relatively uniform agroecological characteristics, cropping practices, and socioeconomic conditions. Within such domains, season-specific management of the IS variability can include field-specific approaches.
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