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Foliar sprays of concentrated urea at maturity of pigeonpea to induce defoliation and increase its residual benefit to wheat

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Chauhan, Y.S., Apphun, A., Singh, V.K. and Dwivedi, B.S. (2004) Foliar sprays of concentrated urea at maturity of pigeonpea to induce defoliation and increase its residual benefit to wheat. Field Crops Research, 89 (1). pp. 17-25. ISSN 0378-4290

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2004.01.016


The pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.) crop retains appreciable amounts of green foliage even after reaching physiological maturity, which if allowed to defoliate, could augment the residual benefit of pigeonpea to the following wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in a pigeonpea–wheat rotation. The effect of addition of leaves present on mature pigeonpea crop to the soil was examined on the following wheat during the 1999/2000 growing season at Patancheru (17°4′N, 78°2′E) and during the 2001–2003 growing seasons at Modipuram (29°4′N, 77°8′E). At Patancheru, an extra-short-duration pigeonpea cultivar ICPL 88039 was defoliated manually and using foliar sprays of 10% urea (30 kg/ha) and compared with a millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.Br.) crop, naturally senesced leaf residue and no-leaf residue controls. At Modipuram, the effect of 10% urea spray treatment on mature ICPL 88039 was compared with the unsprayed control. At both locations, the rainy season crops were followed by a wheat cultivar UP 2338 at four nitrogen levels applied in a split plot design, which at Patancheru were 0, 30, 90 and 120 kg N ha−1 and at Modipuram 0, 60, 120 and 180 kg N ha−1. At Patancheru, urea spray added 0.5 t ha−1 of extra leaf litter to the soil within a week without significantly affecting pigeonpea yield. This treatment, however, increased mean wheat yield by 29% from 2.4 t ha−1 in the no-leaf residue pigeonpea or pearl millet plots to 3.1 t ha−1. At Modipuram, the foliar sprays of urea added more leaf litter to the soil than at Patancheru. Here, increase in subsequent wheat yield due to additional pigeonpea leaf litter was 7–8% and net profit 21% more than in the unsprayed control. The addition of pigeonpea leaf litter to the soil resulted in a saving of 40–60 kg N for the following wheat crops in both the environments. The results demonstrated that pigeonpea leaf litter could play an important role in the fertilizer N economy in wheat. The urea spray at maturity of the standing pigeonpea crop significantly improved this contribution in increasing wheat yield, the effect of which was additional to the amount of urea used for inducing defoliation. The practice, if adopted by farmers, may enhance sustainability of wheat production system in an environmentally friendly way, as it could reduce the amount of fertilizer N application to soil and enhance wheat yield.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Plant culture > Field crops > Wheat
Live Archive:31 Jan 2024 23:58
Last Modified:31 Jan 2024 23:58

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