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Improved Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Lowland Rice Fields for Food Security



The productivity of agricultural systems must improve substantially to support increasing populations without further conversion of wilderness into farmland. By 2050, it is estimated that 70% more food must be produced to feed an estimated global population of over 9 billion with changing food consumption patterns and preferences. Rice is the staple food of more than half of the world’s population. More than 90% of the world’s rice is grown in Asia where one-half of the world’s population and 80% of the world’s poor are concentrated. In Bangladesh, one of the most climate-vulnerable nations, farmers intensively cultivate rice on 80% of agricultural lands. With the increasing population growth rate, it is estimated that the demand for rice will be 56% higher by 2050 than in 2001. Therefore, rice productivity should be increased to meet the food demand of a growing population, taking into account the dwindling amount of land area available for farming. This requires judicious use of agricultural inputs, including quality seeds and fertilizers, and water management, among other good agricultural practices. Fertilizer use has played a crucial role in meeting the food demand of a growing world population. Among the fertilizers, nitrogen (N) fertilizer is the main driving force to produce large rice yields under irrigated and favorable rain-fed conditions. Farmers usually apply urea as a broadcast method. Much research conducted across countries reported that more than 50% of applied nitrogen is not utilized by crops and lost to the environment as reactive forms (ammonia, nitrate, nitrogen oxides) through volatilization or surface water runoff, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems such as eutrophication and groundwater pollution. This also results in higher costs for farmers given that N fertilizers generally represent over 10-15% of crop production costs. Therefore, fertilizer management should consider the 4R concept – right methods, right time, right rates, and right sources to increase use efficiency, crop yield, soil health, and farm profits and to reduce negative environmental effects.
... Rice yields were increased by 25% to 50% with the application of the fertilizer briquette compared with commercial granular fertilizer in Vietnam and Cambodia [7][8][9]. In Bangladesh, the rice yield was enhanced by 25-35%, while expenditure on commercial fertilizer was decreased by 24-32% when the fertilizer briquette was used [16,17]. The increased N-use efficiency with the fertilizer briquette implies lower N losses to water bodies and the atmosphere through leaching and volatilization [18]. ...
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NPK fertilizer briquettes (NPKBriq) and organically enhanced N fertilizer (OENF), as newly developed fertilizer products, are reported to increase maize (Zea mays L.) yield and N use efficiency, but their effects on maize grain composition are unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of NPKBriq and OENF on the protein, oil, fiber, ash, and starch of maize grain. A field study was conducted at Jackson and Grand Junction, TN, during 2012 and 2013, with NPKBriq, OENF, ammonium sulfate ((NH4)2SO4) (+P and K), and urea (+P and K) as the main treatments and 0, 85, 128, and 170 kg N ha−1 as the sub treatments under a randomized complete block split plot design with four replicates. The fiber concentration was more responsive to the fertilizer source than the protein, oil, ash, and starch concentrations. OENF resulted in a higher fiber concentration than NPKBriq at 85 kg N ha−1 in 2013, averaged over the two sites. Both OENF and NPKBriq had nearly no significant effects on the concentrations of the quality attributes compared with ammonium sulfate and urea. In conclusion, the nutrient-balanced NPKBriq exerts the same or greater effects on maize grain quality relative to the commonly used nutrient management practices of urea (+P and K) and ammonium sulfate (+P and K) under normal weather conditions. OENF is an alternate N source to urea and ammonium sulfate for similar to higher maize grain quality.
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