Towards Growing Bario Rice on Lowland Soils: A Preliminary Nitrogen and Potassium Fertilization Trial
Muyang Tawie Sulok Kevin,
Osumanu Haruna Ahmed,
Wan Yahaya Wan Asrina,
A pot study was carried with the following objectives: (i) To investigate N and K uptake of Bario rice on Bekenu series (Tipik Tualemkuts), and (ii) To investigate N and K use efficiency of Bario rice on Bekenu series. Treatments evaluated were: (i) Bario rice under fertilized condition (T1), and (ii) Bario rice under unfertilized condition (T0). The experiment was conducted in a glasshouse at Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Campus, Sarawak, Malaysia. Altogether 18 pots were used. The experimental design was completely randomized design (CRD) with 9 replications. Nitrogen and K were applied in the forms of urea (46 % N) and muriate of potash (60 % K2O) at the rates of 0.52 g N g and 0.60 g K2O per pot respectively at specific times. The fertilizers applications were done 20 and 45 days after seeding (for T1 only). However, P was applied to T1 pots only in the form of Christmas Island Rock Phosphate (36 % P2O5) at a rate of 0.54 g P2O5 per pot. At 65 days after planting, the Bario rice plants were sampled and partitioned into roots and stem. Their dry weight, N, and K concentrations determined using standard procedures. Soil sampling was done before and after fertilization stages. Soil total N was determined using the Kjeldahl method while exchangeable K, Ca, Na, and Mg were extracted using the double acid method and their concentrations determined using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Dry ashing method was used for the determination of K, Ca, Na, and Mg concentrations in plant tissues while the Kjeldahl method was used to determine total N in plant tissues. The concentrations multiplied by the oven dried weight of roots and stem provided N, K, Ca, Na, and Mg uptake in these plant parts. The N and K use efficiency were then calculated using the subtraction method. With the exception of Ca, urea and KCl (MOP) application significantly increased soil N, K, Mg, and Na concentrations. Total dry weight for both stem and roots showed no significant difference under T1 and T0. Except for Mg concentration in stem and roots, K concentration in stem and that of N in roots were significantly higher under T1 than under T0. The other comparisons showed no significant difference. Due to N and K fertilization, there was significant increase in plant height and number of panicles under T1 compared to T0. Nitrogen, K, Na, and Mg uptake in stem were significantly higher for T1 than T0. However, those of roots were not significantly different. The overall N and K use-efficiency of the Bario rice were 9.90 % and 4.23 % respectively, and were considered low, indicating that rice grown within the time frame of this study did not efficiently utilize these nutrients. This was partly attributed to low N and K recovery during reduced condition and low organic matter status of Bekenu series as Bario rice is noted for being cultivated organically. Additionally, slow adaptation to inorganic fertilizers and sudden climatic change involved in this study cannot be ruled out as one of the reasons for the low efficiency because the rice is traditionally cultivated in the highlands of Sarawak, Malaysia. However, with appropriate fertilization and soil maintenance (through further research), Bekenu series could be used for Bario rice production. Probably supplementing inorganic fertilizers with organic ones may help to improve growth and development of this rice on Bekenu series. Future studies may consider mimicking or modifying the environment to suit Bario rice growth and development at lower elevations. Certainly, the quality of Bario rice at lower elevations should also be considered in future fertilization programmes or trials.