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Premium Boron and zinc fertilizer applications are essential in emerging vegetable‐based crop rotations in Nepal
Shrestha Shova,
Becker Mathias,
Lamers John P. A.,
Wimmer Monika A.
Publication year2020
Publication title
journal of plant nutrition and soil science
Resource typeJournals
Abstract Background : Since recently, the traditional rice–wheat rotation systems in Nepal are subject to drastic changes. Progressing urbanisation and shifting consumer preferences drive a replacement of wheat by high‐value vegetables during the cold dry season, particularly in the peri‐urban fringes, while emerging water shortages prevent permanent soil flooding during the monsoon season, leading to partial substitution of lowland rice by less water‐consuming upland crops. Associated changes in soil aeration status affect soil nutrient availability while particularly vegetables enhance the demand for the critically limiting micronutrients boron (B) and zinc (Zn). Aim : In both rice‐ (anaerobic) and maize‐based (aerobic) systems we assessed the differential response of traditional winter wheat in comparison to cauliflower and tomato to applied B and Zn fertilizers. Methods : Experiments were conducted (1) in a pot trial with two contrasting soil types (Acrisol vs . Fluvisol) and (2) in field validation trials at two contrasting sites (representing lowland vs . mid‐hills) in Nepal. Results : The on‐going shift from flooded rice to aerobic maize during the wet season negatively affected dry matter accumulation and grain yield of the dry season wheat, but not of cauliflower and tomato. While Zn application tended to increase wheat yields under field conditions, B application induced no significant effect, irrespective of the soil or production site. However, low to moderate applications of B (2.0–4.4 kg ha −1 ) and Zn (3.3–4.4 kg ha −1 ) nearly doubled biomass accumulation and nutrient uptake of vegetables and increased the economic yields of cauliflower and tomato between 8 and > 100%. These responses were generally more pronounced in the Fluvisol than the Acrisol. While overall yields of wheat and temperate vegetables were higher in the cool mid‐hills the relative yield responses to applied B were more pronounced in the lowland than the mid‐hill sites. On average, the partial factor productivities of applied fertilizer were low to moderate in wheat, with 1 and 8 € increase in net revenue per € of investment in B and Zn, respectively. In the vegetables, this partial factor productivity increased to about 4 € € −1 investment with Zn, and reached about 43 € € −1 investment in B, irrespective of the production site. Conclusions : While the application of Zn fertilizers can moderately improve the performance of traditional rice–wheat rotations, B and to a lesser extent Zn application become essential and highly profitable when shifting towards vegetable cropping. The demand for B and Zn fertilizers is foreseen to dramatically increase with progressing urbanisation and the associated shifts in production systems of Nepal.
Subject(s)agronomy , biology , boron , chemistry , crop , environmental science , fertilizer , organic chemistry , zinc
SCImago Journal Rank0.644

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