On-farm evaluation of leaf color chart for need-based nitrogen management in irrigated transplanted rice in northwestern India uri icon

abstract

  • Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in rice is low due to the inefficient management of fertilizer N by farmers. We evaluated a leaf color chart (LCC) as a simple tool for improving the time and rate of N fertilizer use in farmers' fields for 4 years (2000-2003) in irrigated rice in northwestern India. Application of N fertilizer whenever leaf greenness was less than shade 4 on the LCC (the critical LCC value) produced rice grain yields on a par with blanket recommendation of applying 120 kg N ha(-1) in three equal splits in different years, but it resulted in an average saving of 26% fertilizer N across villages and seasons. In most situations, there was no significant advantage of applying 20 kg N ha(-1) as basal N at transplanting on grain yield and NUE of rice compared with no basal N. Use efficiencies of fertilizer N were higher when N was applied using LCC with a critical value of 4 than the recommended practice of applying 120 kg N ha(-1) in three equal split doses on all sites and in all years. The LCC with a critical value of 4 for real-time N management can be efficiently used to increase NUE in all types of inbred rice cultivars presently popular with the farmers of the Indian Punjab. The LCC is a cheap and easy-to-use tool that allows real-time N management by farmers on a large area leading to improved fertilizer N use efficiency, and reduced risks associated with fertilizer N application.

publication date

  • 2007
  • 2007