Pedosphere 25(1): 72--81, 2015
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2015 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Site-specific nitrogen management in dry direct-seeded rice using chlorophyll meter and leaf colour chart
1Department of Soil Science, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana 141004 (India)
2Department of Soil Fertility and Microbiology, Desert Research Centre, El-Mataryia, Cairo 11753 (Egypt)
      The need to maintain high rice yields and improve fertilizer nitrogen (N)-use efficiency has fueled the use of tools such as leaf colour chart (LCC) and chlorophyll meter (SPAD meter) in managing fertilizer N based on colour of the leaf. Field experiments were conducted during 2011 to 2013 at Ludhiana, India to assess the need for basal N application and to establish critical threshold values of leaf greenness as measured by LCC and SPAD meter for formulating strategies for in-season management of fertilizer N in dry direct-seeded rice (DDSR). Avoiding application of N at sowing did not adversely affect rice grain yield, indicating that basal N application in DDSR was not necessary and might lead to reduced N-use efficiency. Monitoring N uptake rate during the growing season of DDSR suggested that N uptake rate peaked at the two growth stages: maximum tillering (42 to 56 days after sowing (DAS)) and panicle initiation stages (70 to 84 DAS). Using the Cate-Nelson procedure, critical LCC and SPAD meter values for fertilizer N application worked out to be 4 and 37, respectively. Real-time fertilizer N management strategy based on applying 30 kg N ha-1 whenever SPAD meter or LCC readings fell below the critical values maintained optimum rice yields along with higher N-use efficiency than that observed by following blanket recommendation for fertilizer N in the region. The fixed-time variable-dose strategy consisted of applying prescriptive doses of 20 kg N ha-1 at 14 DAS and 30 kg N ha-1 at 28 DAS and corrective doses of 30, 40 or 50 kg N ha-1 at 49 and 70 DAS depending upon LCC shade to be ≥ 4, 4–3.5, or < 3.5 and SPAD meter readings to be ≥ 40, 40–35, or < 35, respectively. This strategy also resulted in optimal rice yield along with higher N-use efficiency as compared to the blanket recommendation. This study revealed that in DDSR, fertilizer N could be managed more efficiently using the tools of LCC and SPAD meter than the current blanket recommendation.
Key Words:  basal N application,critical value, grain yield, leaf greenness, N-use efficiency
Citation: Ali, A. M., Thind, H. S., Sharma, S. and YADVINDER-SINGH. 2015. Site-specific nitrogen management in dry direct-seeded rice using chlorophyll meter and leaf colour chart. Pedosphere. 25(1): 72-81.
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