Deep Placement of Nitrogen Fertilizer Affects Grain Yield, Nitrogen Recovery Efficiency, and Root Characteristics in Direct-Seeded Rice in South China

Abstract

Deep placement of nitrogen (N) fertilizer has become one of the effective management practices for increasing crop yield and improving N recovery efficiency (NRE). However, it is unclear how different N fertilization depths affect grain yield, nitrogen use efficiency, and root characteristics in direct-seeded rice (DSR) in South China. Here, we conducted stainless steel-box experiment to evaluate the effects of different N fertilization depths at four fertilization depths (0, 4, 8, and 12 cm, written as D0, D4, D8, and D12, respectively) with a conventional ammonium bicarbonate fertilizer (TN = 17.7%) (150 kg N ha−1) and a control (no N fertilizer applied, CK) on grain yield, NRE, and root characteristics of DSR. The results indicated that both D8 and D12 significantly increased grain yields by 72.91 and 81.84%, respectively, compared with CK. The highest nitrogen agronomic efficiency (NAE) and NRE were found under D12 treatment, which were increased by 165.42 and 129.45% compared to D0, respectively. We also found that deep placement of N fertilizer (both D8 and D12) could also promote rice root growth such as larger root length, root superficial area, and thicker root diameter. Furthermore, nitrate reductase (NR), glutamine synthetase (GOGAT), and glutamine synthetase (GS) activities of flag leaves at the heading stage were also increased. The result shows that both 8 and 12 cm are relatively reasonable fertilization depths depended on adopted rice varieties when ammonia bicarbonate fertilizer is used in DSR production.

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Acknowledgements

The research was supported by The Key R & D Program of Guangdong Province (2019B020221003) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (31471442 and 41705092). The authors also would like to express their appreciations to Haowen Luo, Kunlong Yu, Yuqing Chen, Zhenzhao Pan, and Anyi Chen for their hard work and valuable suggestions for field experiment.

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SG and XR initiated and designed the research, YY, PS, LL, HT, ZW, MY, ZM, and LJ performed the experiments, YY and LL analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript, SG and ZM revised and edited the manuscript and also provided advice on the experiments.

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Correspondence to Xiangru Tang or Shenggang Pan.

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Chen, Y., Fan, P., Mo, Z. et al. Deep Placement of Nitrogen Fertilizer Affects Grain Yield, Nitrogen Recovery Efficiency, and Root Characteristics in Direct-Seeded Rice in South China. J Plant Growth Regul 40, 379–387 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00344-020-10107-2

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Keywords

  • Deep placement of fertilizer
  • Grain yield
  • Nitrogen recovery efficiency
  • Root characteristics
  • Direct-seeded rice