Assessing the Effect of Seedling Age and Time of Urea Supergranule Application on Rice Growth, Yield and Nitrogen Use efficiency
Nitrogen is the most limiting nutrient in tropical soils and nitrogen fertilizer application to rice is subject to losses. Good synchrony of nitrogen availability to crop’s need is a strategy to reduce losses and improve efficiency. A pot experiment was conducted to assess the effect of seedling age and time of urea supergranule application on rice growth, yield and nitrogen use efficiency. The experiment consisted of 10, 14, 21 and 28-day old seedlings and urea supergranule applied at 0, 7, 14 and 21 days after transplanting with a check treatment without nitrogen application. Results indicated significant effect of seedling age on growth, yield and nitrogen use efficiency. Highest grain yield, nitrogen uptake, agronomic use efficiency of nitrogen and nitrogen recovery efficiency were obtained with 10 and 14-day old seedlings, while the lowest values were observed for 28-day old seedlings. Urea supergranule applied at 7 or 14 days after transplanting gave the highest rice growth parameters while the lowest performances were obtained with urea supergranule applied at 0 and 21 days after transplanting. The interactive effect showed better growth, yield and nitrogen use efficiency of rice when urea supergranule was applied at 7 or 14 days after transplanting seedlings of 10 and 14-day old. The results suggested that even though application of urea supergranule at 7 and 14 days after transplanting increased rice yield over 0 and 21 days after transplanting, for the aged seedlings of 21 and 28-day old, the variation of urea supergranule application time could not compensate for the decrease of yield due to old seedlings transplanting.