A positive approach to developing a strategy to optimize the use of fertilizer in rice has been revealed in Indonesia.
Commonly, rice farmers in Indonesia apply urea with NPK to their rice crop. However, there is doubt over whether that delivers the correct balance of nutrients required by the growing rice, or whether it creates the optimum synergy between the nutrients. Indonesia wants to improve rice productivity by almost 40% in order to reach the national harvest target set for 2040 the country, and to achieve this it is more and more focused on optimizing the use of fertilizer.
The trial on a demonstration plot in the West Java province of Indonesia studied two varieties of paddy rice. It compared the conventional crop nutrition practice of the area (urea plus NPK) with an alternative strategy replacing the NPK with Polysulphate – the ICL FertilizerpluS natural mineral product containing sulphur, magnesium, potassium and calcium.
According to the report, using Polysulphate with urea on the rice crop resulted in a 16% yield increase, bigger and stronger panicles and higher grain weight. The host farmers also reported that the crop applied with Polysulphate appeared to be more resistant to lodging, or damage caused by the wind, and showed improved resistance to common diseases.
Fine-tuning fertilizer strategy to match crop needs is an essential part of farming today. It takes knowledge and belief in the potential gains. For rice farmers in Indonesia this report helps with both. It shows that challenging assumptions and trialing precise and balanced fertilizer use is the way ahead to boost yields and livelihoods.
The full report is available on the IPI website.