Effects of NPK fertilizer combinations on yield and nitrogen balance in sorghum or pigeonpea on a vertisol in the semi-arid tropics uri icon

abstract

  • A long-term experiment was carried out on a Vertisol from 1986 to 1992 to examine the combined effects of NPK fertilizers on yield using sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench cv. CSH 5) and short-duration pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan L. Millsp. cv. ICPL 87). The fertilizer treatments were as follows: 0 (no fertilization), N (150 kg N ha-1 ), P (65.5 kg P2O5 ha-1), K (124.5 kg K2O ha-1), and all possible combinations (NP, NK, PK, and NPK). In this study we continued this experiment during the period 1993 to 1994 and analyzed the crop yield response to fertilizers and the N balance. The amount of N derived from the atmosphere and fertilizer was estimated by the 15N natural abundance method and l5N isotope dilution method, respectively. A combined application of Nand P fertilizers gave the highest grain yield for the two crops under the 8th and 9th continuous croppings, unlike the application of K fertilizer. The values of total N for the two crops were significantly higher in the NP and NPK plots. These crops took up N mainly from soil. There was a significant positive relationship between the uptake of Ndff and Ndfs by each crop. Pigeonpea or sorghum took up more N from the soil in the N fertilizer plots than in the plots without N, suggesting that soil N fertility was enhanced and the amount of N supplied from soil increased in the plots with consecutive application of N fertilizer for 7 y. Even pigeonpea, which fixes atmospheric N inherently, needed N fertilizer to achieve high grain yield, suggesting that N fixation by the nodules was not always sufficient to meet the N requirements of the crop under these conditions. Although fertilizer N exerted a beneficial effect on plant growth and yield in the two crops, the values of fertilizer N recovery (FNR) by the two crops were considerably low. Therefore, it is suggested that the development of N fertilizer management which could maximize FNR of each crop should be promoted

publication date

  • 1999
  • 1999