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Increasing rice production on acidic soils in Malaysia

Caption: MR 219 paddy variety which was used by the researchers to study the effectiveness of adding lime on acidic soils to boost rice production. Copyright: Namanegara (Wikimedia Commons)
Selangor, Malaysia, June 19, 2014 - (ACN Newswire) - Adding lime is a cost-effective means of increasing rice production on marginal acidic soils, according to a study published in the Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science. The study examined the effects of applying lime from various sources on an acid sulphate soil in Merbok, Malaysia.

Rice is a staple food for Malaysians. With global demand for rice increasing, Malaysia needs to become more self-sufficient in rice production. However, with fertile land in short supply, farmers may need to increase their rice production on land that was previously idle and less fertile, such as the acid sulphate soils that occur along Malaysia's coastal plains.

Marked with high acidity (soil pH< 3.5), acid sulphate soils contain high levels of aluminium (Al). Under normal circumstances, they are not suitable for crop production. Major agronomic problems common to these soils include Al toxicity, decreased availability of phosphorus, nutrient deficiencies and iron toxicity.

In the study, Shamshuddin Jusop and colleagues at the Universiti Putra Malaysia treated an acid sulphate paddy with ground magnesium limestone (GML), hydrated lime and liquid lime. Prior to the treatments, the pH of water from the rice field was 3.7 and the Al concentration was 878 uM. Rice plants grown under these conditions would normally suffer from acid and aluminium stress, thus retarding and/or minimizing rice growth and yield.

For their experiment, the researchers tested paddy variety MR 219 - the most common variety grown in Malaysia. In the first season, rice plants were affected by drought while in the second, they were infested with rice blast fungus. Despite this, the rice yield was 3.5 tons (t) per hectare, or almost as much as the average national yield of 3.8 t per hectare. This was achieved by applying 4 tons of GML per hectare, at a cost of US$382. Since one ton of rice sold at the market price of US$318, "the yield obtained is worth the effort and cost," the authors conclude.

For more information about each research, please contact:

Shamshuddin Jusop
Department of Land Management
Faculty of Agriculture
Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +603 8947 4865; Mobile: +(6) 017 889 1178.

About Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science (JTAS)

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science (JTAS) is published by Universiti Putra Malaysia in English and is open to authors around the world regardless of nationality. Beginning 2012, it would be published four times a year in February, May, August and November. Other Pertanika series include Pertanika Journal of Science & Technology (JST), and Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities (JSSH).

JTAS aims to provide a forum for high quality research related to tropical agricultural research. Areas relevant to the scope of the journal include: agricultural biotechnology, biochemistry, biology, ecology, fisheries, forestry, food sciences, entomology, genetics, microbiology, pathology and management, physiology, plant and animal sciences, production of plants and animals of economic importance, and veterinary medicine. The journal publishes original academic articles dealing with research on issues of worldwide relevance.

Website: http://www.pertanika.upm.edu.my/

The paper is available from this link: http://bit.ly/1phUNOZ

For more information about the journal, contact:

The Chief Executive Editor (UPM Journals)
Head, Journal Division, UPM Press
Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (R&I)
IDEA Tower 2, UPM-MDTC Technology Centre
Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 Serdang, Selangor

Phone: +603 8947 1622 | +6016 217 4050
Email: [email protected]

Press release distributed by ResearchSEA for Pertanika Journal.

Source: Pertanika Journal

Copyright 2014 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved.

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