Potassium release characteristics, potassium balance, and fingermillet ( Eleusine coracana G.) yield sustainability in a 27- year long experiment on an Alfisol in the semi-arid tropical India uri icon

abstract

  • AimIn Alfisols, potassium (K) deficiency limits productivity, as these soils are poor in K-bearing minerals such as mica. As nutrient management practices greatly influence K nutrition of crops especially in the longer term, we evaluated the effects of 27 (1978?2004) years of cropping fingermillet (Eleusine coracana G.) under different manure and mineral fertilizer treatments on K release, balance and yield sustainability on K deficient Alfisols in the semi-arid tropical region of southern India.MethodsFingermillet (variety: PR-202) was grown each year under rainfed conditions with 5 different nutrient management treatments: control (no amendment), 10 Mg ha?1 farm yard manure (FYM), 10 Mg ha?1 FYM +50 % NPK, 10 Mg ha?1 FYM +100 % NPK and 100 % NPK. Potassium release characteristics in the soil profile were determined using 1 N boiling HNO3 (strong extracting solution), 0.01 M HCl (medium extracting solution) and 0.01 M CaCl2 (mild extracting solution).ResultsContinuous cropping of Alfisols for 27 years resulted in a decrease in K supplying capacity due to soil K depletion through crop K uptake. In soils without K addition, inherent soil supply could not meet the K requirement of fingermillet; thus, a negative K balance following 27 years of cropping affected K nutrition of the crop in all the treatments. As a result, the highest sustainable yield index (SYI) was observed using an integrated nutrient supply (combined application of nutrients from organic and inorganic sources), and the lowest index was obtained without K additions.ConclusionFor balanced nutrient management in cereal production systems, K nutrition needs urgent attention in the K deficient Alfisol region of southern India. Addition of any amount of organic manures available at field level offers an alternative strategy for maintaining soil K fertility to improve and sustain crop productivity

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014