Nitrogen dynamics and crop growth on an Alfisol and a Vertisol under a direct-seeded rainfed lowland rice-based system uri icon

abstract

  • Rice (Oryza sativa L,) followed by chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) or a fallow is one of the predominant cropping systems in the rainfed lowlands of India, Crop rotation experiments over 3 years (1996-1998) to quantify N supply and demand under rainfed lowland rice-chickpea and rice-fallow cropping systems on a loam Alfisol and a clay Vertisol in Raipur, India were conducted under direct-seeded rice culture. The rice growth, yield, development and N accumulation were affected most by N rates (0, 40, 80, 120 kg ha(-1)) followed by cropping system (rice-chickpea, rice-fallow) and soil types (Alfisol, Vertisol). The incorporation of chickpea in the cropping system helped in accumulating a greater amount of soil N than fallow. The rice yield, dry matter and N accumulated were significantly higher in rice-chickpea than rice-fallow systems on both soils and in all years. The lowest rice yields were recorded in 1997 due to unfavorable rainfall distribution. The total rainfall was the highest in this season, but most of it occurred during a short period at an early growth stage. The post-heading rains were lowest in this season and resulted in the lower rice yield as compared with that of 1996 and 1998. This indicates the significance of rainfall distribution in controlling yield in a rainfed environment. The rice yields were lower on Vertisol than Alfisol during periods of drought. The performance of chickpea was also better in Alfisol as compared with that in the Vertisol due to its better soil physical attributes. The residual effect of N applied to the preceding rice crop was non-significant on all yield, growth and N accumulation parameters of chickpea. The N balance computed from the top 70 cm soil layers indicated less N loss in the rice-chickpea system as compared with that in rice-fallow. The recovery efficiency at the highest N rate (120 kg N ha(-1)) was higher for the rice-chickpea (57-61%) than that of rice-fallow (49-53%) system. The improved N balance for rice-chickpea system from third year onwards was due to switch to dry seeding and improved soil N status. The inclusion of legume and the effective capture of biologically fixed N and soil N through direct-seeded rice system in rainfed lowlands may help in improving the rice yield of resource poor farmers. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2001
  • 2001
  • 2001