Fertilizer application and Weed Management of Rice in Nigeria

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Like the heart and lungs are very essential part of human survival so is fertilizer application and Weed Management to our crops. Farmers have been neglecting the importance of both weed and Fertilizer Management for so long. Even though they apply this management practices, it won't be based on the recommended rates. In fertilizer application too little is bad and too much is even dangerous. That is why farmers should be well oriented on how to apply fertilizer and manage weeds based on best practices.

Keywords: Fertilizer, Weed, Water, Rice, Management, Nigeria.

Agroreaders should be able to follow this little guide to help them enhance rice production. Let's quickly get into it;

Fertilizer 

These are materials made from organic or inorganic origin, which can be applied to the soil which can further enhance crop growth, nutrition and health of rice plants.
Today we will be discussing mineral fertilizers like NPK. This inorganic fertilizers should be applied at the right time and right quantity to obtain optimum crop yields.

Fertilizer application

Truth be told, the best fertilizer recommendations are made when the soil are tested, this helps in giving the farmer a brief over view of the rates of nutrients to apply to the soil. Although it's best practice to test your soil but there are some case where money can be a constraint in carrying out a soil test by a reputable soil testing company. In that regard I will give you general fertilizer recommendations that are based on different agro ecological zones in Nigeria;

  • Humid forest : In this agro ecological zone it is recommended to apply 60kg N, 30 to 60 kg of P2O5 and 30 kg of K20 per hectare of rice field. 
  • Savannah region : in this zone it will do you well to apply 60 to 80 kg N, 30 to 60 kg P2O5 and 30 kg of K2O per hectare of rice field. 
  • Under irrigated areas such as Sudan /Sahel regions : it is recommended to apply 100 to 120 kg of N, 60 kg of P2O5 and 60 kg of K2O per hectare of rice field. 
This general recommendation is used when there is capital constraints in carrying out a thorough soil test on your rice fields. 
Note : soil test should always be carried out before planting at different points on the field that was intended for farming. 

Read also :Rice Farming in Nigeria (Beginners Guide)

What time should I apply fertilizer on my rice field? 

The time of fertilizer application is very important because it tends to help us maximize the benefits of this said mineral nutrients.

Basal Application of Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K);

  • To be on a safe side it's recommended to apply P and K within a week before transplanting, this inorganic nutrients should be well incorporated well into the soil. 

Nitrogen (N) fertilizer should be Top dressed ;

A clear example is Urea fertilizer, this should be applied in three equal doses;
  • Deep placement (2 to 2.5 cm) should be carried out at transplanting.
  • Itis  advisable to Broadcast at its middle age of growth that is around 3 to 5 weeks after transplanting. 
Water level should be well maintained on the field at a level of 3 to 5 cm at the time of fertilizer application to ensure optimum use of the applied fertilizer. For more in depth understanding it is recommended to go through WARDA manual on rice production.

How should I apply this fertilizer ;

For lowland rice;

  • In small areas it is recommended to use irrigated systems. This fertilizer should be applied between rows, it is required of us to close canals for about 10 to 12 days for accelerate ease of absorption. 
  • Another method under lowland rice is to drain the field and apply fertilizer by broadcasting method. But is paramount to ensure that the field is flooded immediately to prevent denitrification. 
For upland rice ;
  • For soils that has been under continuous cultivation, there is a great likelihood that it is deficient of some micro nutrients such as P and K, this nutrients should be applied at final harrowing before seeding. 

Iron toxicity 

Iron toxicity in rice production is one of the most common nutrient deficiency facing rice farmers today. Avoiding this will go a long way in enhancing productivity. These can be done by;
  • Planting resistant varieties such as FARO 15, ITA 247, SUAKOKO 8
  • Practice good water management by draining the field when necessary, this helps in eliminating excess iron. 
  • Ensure that the nutrients applied are based on recommendations. 
  • Cultural Practices should be well implemented. 

Water management 

For lowland rice, its essential to ;
  • Maintain water level up to 5 cm from one week after transplanting until the grain matures. 
  • I beg of you, always drain water off your field a week before Harvesting and ensure there are no sign of cracks on the field. 

Weed Management 

As we all know there are different weed control methods available in the agricultural world and I will take us through some of them in a flash;

Hand Weeding 

  • Water should be drained from the field ( that is for lowland rice) 
  • First weeding should be carried out with precision at about 2 to 3 weeks after emergence with the use of hoe. 
  • Second Weeding should be done 6 to 7 weeks after plant emergence 
  • Weed a third time if necessary. 
Perennial weeds should be control using chemical control method so as to kill existing weed seeds. 

Chemical weed control (WARDA recommendation) 

Pre-emergence herbicides ;
These are herbicides applied before crop emergence on the field. These are some of the common herbicides used on rice fields ;

  • Apply Rice Force and Gramoxone (paraquat) at 50 ml each in 20 litres of water per hectare, this should be done not later than 24 hours after planting. 
  • We should be sensitive on certain things. One is not to apply Gramoxone after plant has fully emerged. 


Post-emergence herbicides ;
These are herbicides applied after crop emergence on rice Field

  • A good example of a Pre emergence herbicide which should be applied on a rice field is Delmin Forte (2,4-D amine salt) plus Propanil mixed with 50 ml of the 2,4-D in 20 litres of water per hectare. 
  • You can also choose to apply Tamarice, Ronstar PL to mention a few at 3 kg per hectare, that is 2 to 3 weeks after transplanting. 
  • Remove any resistant weed species that are present in the field to avoid build up of weed population. 

Conclusion 

The essence of this article is to bring us to speed on the importance of fertilizer application and Weed Management to our rice fields, it enhances crop production in every way possible. Get your Farm tested today and make sure to apply your fertilizers at the right time and at the right rates. 

If these post has been helpful, do hit the share buttons to help a fellow farmer, you can also ask questions or make contributions by commenting on the post. With love Agro Blogger. 


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