The use of green manures (GMs) in combination with nitrogen (N) fertilizer application is a promising practice to improve N fertilizer management in agricultural production systems. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the N use efficiency (NUE) of rice plant, derived from GMs including sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L.), millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.) and urea in the greenhouse. The experimental treatments included two GMs (sunn hemp-15N and millet-15N), absence of N organic source (without GM residues in soil) and four N rates, as urea-15N (0, 28.6, 57.2 and 85.8 mg N kg-1). The results showed that both rice grain and straw biomass yields under sunn hemp were greater than that of millet or without the application of GM. The NUE of rice under sunn hemp was greater than that under millet (18.9 and 7.8% under sunn hemp and millet, respectively). The urea N application rates did not affect the fertilizer NUE by rice (53.7%) with or without GMs. The NUE of GMs by rice plants ranged from 14.1% and 16.8% for root and shoot, respectively. The study showed that green manures can play an important role in enhancing soil fertility and N supply to subsequent crops.
Key words: Oryza sativa L., sunn hemp, millet, isotopic diluition, nitrogen mineralization.
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