Neem coated urea leads to higher rice yield

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Chandigarh, Jul 27 (UNI) Neem coated urea produces a higher yield of paddy than ordinary urea that is avaliable in the market.

Performance of neem-coated urea in comparison to ordinary urea was evaluated in transplanted paddy in field experiments conducted for three years from 2005 to 2007 on experimental farms of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana and Gurdaspur. Results from this study showed that neem-coated urea produced, on an average, 77 kg per acre and 144 kg/acre higher rice grain yield in comparison to ordinary urea at the two places respectively.

National Fertilizer Limited (NFL) has started the production of neem coated urea, which has now been included in the Fertilizer Control Order. Neem-coated urea contains 46 per cent Nitrogen equal to that in the ordinary urea being sold in the market.

According to a study conducted by PAU's Department of Soils, neem contains a compound called Azadirachtin which is bio-degradable and is not toxic to plant and soil. Azadirachtin can inhibit nitrification which results in reduced denitrification and nitrate leaching losses thus improving the nitrogen utilisation by the crops.

Nitrogen is the most yield limiting nutrient element in crop production in most soils. It is the fertilizer element required in greatest quantity and is the easiest lost from the soil of the three major soil nutrients-nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

The main pathways of losses are ammonia volatilisation, nirate leaching and dentrification. The fertilizer Nitrogen use efficiency in paddy/rice is very low and rarely exceeds 40 per cent leading to economic loss to farmers and is detrimental to environment.

Among nitrogenous fertilizers, urea is the major source of nitrogen (N) for rice. Nitrate containing fertilizers when applied to rice proved less efficient because nitrate is prone to be lost via denitrification and leaching under submerged soil conditons.

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