The role of potassium in sustaining yields in a long-term rice-wheat experiment in the Indo-Gangetic Plains of Nepal uri icon

abstract

  • A long-term soil fertility experiment (1988-1999) at the Regional Agricultural Research Station, Bhairhawa, Nepal, was analysed to determine: (1) how long the yields of rice (Oryza sativa L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) can be sustained without K but with N and N+P (NP) applied with or without farmyard manure (FYM) and green manure, and (2) the impact of K application on yields. Starting from the 1995 wheat season, the experiment was modified to accommodate K at 0, 42, and 84 kg ha(-1) in plots receiving NP to study the response of rice and wheat to K. Both rice and wheat responded to K application but the response of wheat was substantially higher, indicating that the availability of native K may have been lower in wheat. Rice yields were lower in treatments without P than with P, and yields declined significantly (0.11-0.20 Mg ha(-1) year(-1)) in all the treatments except in NP and NP+FYM. Wheat yield was more adversely affected than rice yield when P and K were not applied. In addition, wheat yields were low (average 0.5-2.1 Mg ha(-1) in various treatments). Wheat yields declined (0.08-0.12 Mg ha(-1) year(-1)) in all but FYM treatments indicating the role of FYM in sustaining yields. The interaction of K deficiency with Helminthosporium leaf blight (spot blotch and tan spot) is also suggested as one of the factors limiting wheat yields. The estimated K balance in soil was highly negative. Results suggest that farmers should apply adequate amount of K for higher and sustainable rice and wheat yields.

publication date

  • 2002
  • 2002