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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Tillage Depth Influence on Soil Nitrogen Distribution and Availability in a Rice Lowland


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 60 No. 4, p. 1153-1159
    Received: Mar 13, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): j.k.ladha@CGNET.COM
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  1. D. K. Kundu,
  2. J. K. Ladha  and
  3. E. Lapitan-de Guzman
  1. Soil and Water Sciences Division, International Rice Research Inst., P.O. Box 933, Manila 1099, Philippines



Previous studies using artificial barriers at selected depths have shown the importance of N supply from soil below 15 cm to rice (Oryza sativa L.). Subsoil N availability and its use by wetland rice, however, have not been evaluated under normal field conditions. We examined distribution and availability of 2 M KCl-extractable N in 0- to 15-, 15- to 30-, and 30- to 45-cm layers of a submerged Alfisol during three successive crop seasons, as influenced by the depth of tillage imposed at the outset of the experiment. Mineral N availability in the 0- to 45-cm profile and rice N uptake in the first season were significantly higher (20–25 kg ha−1 higher mineral N and 16–18 kg ha−1 higher crop N uptake) with tillage to a depth of 40 cm than to 15 or 25 cm, the increased N supply originating largely from the 15- to 30-cm layer. In two following seasons, tillage to 40 cm gave the highest mineral N in the subsoil layers, and increased rice N uptake by 12 to 14 kg ha−1, compared with tillage to 15 cm. The beneficial effects of deep tillage were attributed to the elimination of mechanical impedence to root proliferation, and lower susceptibility of subsoil N to various loss mechanisms. Initial and final analyses of Kjeldahl N in the soil profile indicated no adverse effect of practicing 40-cm-deep tillage once in three seasons on soil N fertility. Further study is needed to determine optimum depth and frequency of primary tillage for different soil types to enhance N use efficiency.

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