Nutrient management and use efficiency in wheat systems of South Asia

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Advances in Agronomy  125 : 171-259, 2014

Jat, M.L.; Bijay-Singh; Gerard, B.

With the advent of Green Revolution era in the mid-1960s, high-yielding wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) varieties and chemical fertilizers were introduced in South Asia. Fertilizer consumption is continuously increasing since then, but the productivity of wheat is relatively stagnant during the last decade. In South Asia, fertilizers have been applied to wheat as blanket recommendations for regions with similar climate and landform. There exists a large variation in nutrient use efficiencies in wheat because of following blanket recommendations for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in fields differing greatly in nutrient-supplying capacity of the soil. Research carried out in South Asia suggests that further improvement in nutrient use efficiency will become possible by balanced use of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizers, and by rational use of organic manures in wheat systems. Long-term fertility experiments also confirm the need of balanced use of nutrients to produce high sustainable yield levels of wheat. In saline alkali soils, wheat needs to be supplied with higher amounts of nutrients, particularly N, than in normal soils. Band placement of fertilizers, particularly phosphorus, leads to improved fertilizer use efficiency, but appropriate machinery is lacking. Recently introduced site-specific nutrient management strategies for wheat take into account field-to-field variability and can help increase fertilizer use efficiency more than that achieved by following blanket fertilizer recommendations. Conservation agricultural practices consisting of reduced tillage and residue retention in wheat fields have already been introduced in South Asia. Nutrient management strategies for these wheat-growing environments are also being actively worked out. Yield gap analysis shows that productivity of wheat as well as nutrient use efficiencies can be further improved.

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