In Summary

  • Nitrogen, as a nutrient, is particularly prone to many types of losses, and as such requires careful management to achieve desired yields.
  • Unlike many other crops, a rice crop will benefit from an ammonium source of nitrogen at the early growth stage, but becomes more efficient on uptake of nitrate nitrogen at the later stage of panicle initiation.
  • Irrigation water management is critical in ensuring that the nutrients applied through the fertilisers have a better chance of being taken up by the crop and not lost either by leaching, volatilisation, denitrification or even immobilisation.

Q: I am a rice farmer in Mwea. Please advise on the best fertiliser programme for growing rice in the region.

Successful production of paddy rice such as is the case in Mwea calls for careful management of two important factors, that is, irrigation water and the fertilisation programme.

Irrigation water management is critical in ensuring that the nutrients applied through the fertilisers have a better chance of being taken up by the crop and not lost either by leaching, volatilisation, denitrification or even immobilisation.

Nitrogen management in paddy rice

Balanced nutrition in rice like all other crops is critical in achieving optimal yields. The application time as well as type and form of the nutrients are essential factors determining the agronomic efficiency of the fertiliser applied.

Nitrogen, as a nutrient, is particularly prone to many types of losses, and as such requires careful management to achieve desired yields.

Unlike many other crops, a rice crop will benefit from an ammonium source of nitrogen at the early growth stage, but becomes more efficient on uptake of nitrate nitrogen at the later stage of panicle initiation.

This is so because in the early stage of low nitrogen demand, the ammonium is taken up and some nitrified in time for plant uptake.

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