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Rice (Oryza sativa .L) is an important staple and source of income for farmers in Nigeria. Current fertilizer recommendations for rice do not commonly consider fertilizer cost relative to paddy price (CP). The rates needed for maximizing yield rather than profits have been rather estimated. As the cost of fertilizer increases relative to the price of paddy, the nutrient rate needed to maximize net returns, typically called the economically optimal rate (EOR), is expected to decrease. To this end, fertilizer trials were conducted at Wushishi in Niger state and Kadawa in Kano state in 2015 cropping season to: quantify the yield response of lowland rice to nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium applications; estimate the EOR at different CP; evaluate the components of Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE). The trials consisted of different rates of N (0, 40, 80, 120, 160 kg/ha), P (0, 7.5, 15, 22.5 kg/ha) and K (0, 10, 20, 30 kg/ha) arranged in an incomplete factorial combination and laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replicates. At plot level, paddy yield and components of yield were measured. Mean yield without nitrogen in Kadawa and Wushishi were 2.6 and 5.05 tons/ha respectively. There were significant increases in yield with N application in both locations. Paddy yield was increased by 3 tons/ha in Wushishi with the application of 80 kg/ha of N. Similarly, 40 kg/ha produced maximum paddy yield of 3.55 tons/ha in Kadawa. Estimated optimum nitrogen rates from asymptotic non-linear regression model were 114kg/ha and 106kg/ha for Wushishi and Kadawa respectively. As the CP increased, the range of profitability and EOR decreased. In Kadawa, EOR ranged from 61 to 32 kg ha-1 of N at CP of 2 to 10. Values for EOR were 82 to 49 kg/ha for CP of 2 to 10 for Wushishi. Yield was not significantly increased with P and K applications in both locations. Agronomic Efficiency (AE) and Partial Factor Productivity decreased with increasing N rate in both locations. In Wushishi, AE and PFP at CP of 2 were 32.6 kg/kg and 95.6 kg/kg respectively. Similarly, AE and PFP at CP of 2 in Kadawa were 15.1 kg/kg and 59.6 kg/kg respectively. Nitrogen fertilization was observed to be more profitable in Wushishi due to greater crop response. Applying Nitrogen at economically optimal rate can help reduce expenditure on fertilizer while maximizing profits for rice growers. Environmental pollutions commonly associated with nitrogen fertilization can also be reduced.
Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is an important staple for more than half of the world’s population. It
accounts for 18.99% of calorie, 1.83% of fat and 12.73% of protein intake per day (FAOSTAT,
2011). The demand for rice may increase by 60% by 2025 (Fageria et al., 2003). The demand for
rice is growing particularly in sub-Saharan Africa due to rapid population growth, consumer
preference and rising income. Nigeria is the largest consumer of rice in sub-Saharan Africa with
an estimated demand of 6.7 million metric tons of milled rice (USDA, 2017). Production is
estimated at 3.8 million metric tons of milled rice and has failed to keep pace with the growing
demand resulting to the importation of 2.6 million metric tons of milled rice to fill the gap.
Low yield has been identified as major constraint to rice production in Nigeria where average
yield is estimated at 1.88 tons per hectare (USDA, 2017). Soil nutrient depletion and low
fertilizer use have been commonly cited as yield limiting factors in Nigeria (Ezui et al., 2010;
Liverpool-Tasie et al., 2014). Farmers understand the need to apply nutrients to their land but
little is used due to the economic and social factors surrounding access to fertilizer. High cost
and delayed delivery of fertilizer are major limitations to its use in rice production. The expenses
incurred in procuring fertilizer in Sub-Saharan Africa are two to six times the cost in Europe or
the United States (Sanchez, 2002). Cost of importation, market inefficiencies and transportation
cost are some of the factors responsible for high fertilizer prices. Excessively high fertilizer cost
usually reduces the profitability of fertilizer use (Kaizzi et al., 2012a).
Several studies have reported significant increase in yield of rice with fertilizer application.
Ishaya and Dauda (2010) reported optimum yield of 7 tons/ha with application of 130 kg/ha of
nitrogen in the sudan savanna. Kamara et al. (2011) observed yield increase of 3 tons/ha with the
application of 100kg/ha of N to NERICA varieties. In a trial conducted by Jibrin et al. (2010) in
the sudan savanna, 120kg/ha of N increased yield by 62.9%.
1.1 Statement of Problem
The Fertilizer recommendation for all irrigated lowland rice in Nigeria has been 100 kg/ha N,
60kg/ha P2O5 and 60kg/ha K2O (Chude et al., 2011) with the assumption that the need for
applied nutrients is constant over varieties, seasons and diverse agro-ecological zones. Fertilizer
recommendations are commonly developed without considering the cost of fertilizer relative to
the price of paddy typically referred to as fertilizer cost to paddy price ratio (CP). Instead, the
fertilizer rates needed to attain maximum yield have often been estimated. The CP is an indicator
of how much of an output is required to purchase a kilogram of a nutrient (Liverpool-Tasie et al.,
2014). As the fertilizer cost increases relative to price of paddy, the Economically Optimum Rate
(EOR), described as the nutrient rate needed to maximize net return to fertilizer use, is expected
to decrease (Wortmann et al., 2007). In Nigeria, Liverpool-Tasie et al. (2014) observed that the
CP can be as low as 1.7 and high as 11.2 in some years and farming systems. Applying fertilizer
at existing recommendations when the CP is high could lead to low net returns on fertilizer use.
Kaizzi et al. (2012a) and Kaizzi et al. (2014) developed regression equations to relate CP and
EOR for maize and rice respectively. This provided a means for estimating EOR at any CP
In addition, Nitrogen is the most limiting nutrient in rice production as it is prone to losses by
volatilization, leaching and denitrification (Wortmann et al.,
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