Legume Research

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Legume Research, volume 46 issue 6 (june 2023) : 713-720

Response of Split Application of Nutrients through Fertigation in Pigeonpea

S.U. Kakade1,*, J.P. Deshmukh1, N.D. Parlawar1, V.V. Goud1
1Department of Agronomy, Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola-444 104, Maharashtra, India.
  • Submitted02-05-2020|

  • Accepted07-11-2020|

  • First Online 19-01-2021|

  • doi 10.18805/LR-4410

Cite article:- Kakade S.U., Deshmukh J.P., Parlawar N.D., Goud V.V. (2023). Response of Split Application of Nutrients through Fertigation in Pigeonpea . Legume Research. 46(6): 713-720. doi: 10.18805/LR-4410.
Background: Among the different production factors, irrigation and nutrient management are of immense importance in Pigeon pea cultivation. Drip irrigation can be considered as an efficient irrigation system to maintain optimum moisture content in the root zone. Split application of fertilizers at appropriate stages of crop growth ensure a regular flow of both water and nutrients resulting in  increased growth rate and higher yield. Fertigation proposed as a means to increase efficient use of water and fertilizer to increase yield and sustained irrigated agriculture. The current study aims to study the efficacy of split application of N, P and K on growth, water and nutrient use efficiency, productivity and profitability of Pigeon pea.

Methods: The field experiment was conducted at Department of Agronomy Farm, Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola during three consecutive kharif season of 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. The experiment was laid out in randomised block design with four replications and eight treatments with an objective to study the efficacy of split application of nutrients on growth, water and nutrient use efficiency, productivity and profitability of Pigeon pea. 

Result: The results revealed that, all the growth parameters, yield attributes and grain yield of Pigeon pea were substantially enhanced by drip fertigation levels at 125:100:100 per cent recommended NPK than lower fertigation levels (75 and 100%) and over conventional soil application of recommended dose of NPK kg ha-1. Drip fertigation at 125:100:100 per cent recommended dose of NPK ha-1 recorded higher pigeon-pea pooled grain yield of 4053 kg ha-1. The maximum GMR (Rs.226807 ha-1), NMR (Rs.176604 ha-1), B:C ratio (4.52) and highest economic efficiency of Rs.883 day-1 ha-1
Pigeon pea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.] is a pulse crop belongs to the family leguminoceae (Fabaceae) and it is a multipurpose  legume  and has been considered as a second   most important pulse crop after chickpea. India has virtual monopoly in Pigeon pea production accounting to 90% of world’s total production. In India alone, Pigeon pea is grown in about 4.42 million hectares, with a production of 4.02 million ton, however the average productivity is only 909 kg ha-1. Maharashtra is one of the major Pigeon pea growing state with area of about 12.1 lakh ha with productivity of 859 kg ha-1 during the year 2018-19. Pigeon pea has good yield potential but production and productivity is very low because in most of the region it is cultivated as a rainfed crop. The low yield of Pigeon pea is not only because of its cultivation in marginal lands, but also because of inadequate soil moisture at terminal stage and imbalanced fertility (Saritha et al., 2012). Therefore, there is a need for judicious management of available water and plant nutrients through different fertilizers to increase the productivity and to reduce the production cost of Pigeon pea. Drip irrigation can be considered as an efficient irrigation system since it causes wetting of the soil only and maintain optimum moisture content in the root zone. It also offers several water management advantages like timely application of water and water supply (Vimalendran et al., 2017).

In conventional method, there is a heavy loss of nutrients due to leaching, denitrification, evaporation and fixation in the soil. Sometimes these fertilizer  get  transmitted  to  areas  beyond the active  root  zone and no longer  useful  to plant due to which fertilizer efficiency is less than 50%. Fertilization must always maintain an optimum level of nutrients within the root zone for good growth and  harvesting of potential  crop growth and harvesting of  potential  yield  of crop. When fertilizer is applied through drip, it is observed that 30 per cent of the fertilizers could be saved (Sivanappan and Ranghaswami, 2005). Fertigation permits application of various nutrients and fertilizer formulations directly at the site of active root zone in desired concentration and thus improves the nutrient use efficiency and influence the crop yield (Asokaraja, 1997). Fertilizer  use  efficiency  up  to  95%  can  be  achieved  through  drip  fertigation. Application of fertilizers at appropriate  stages  of  crop  growth  ensure  a  regular  flow of  both  water  and  nutrients  resulting  in  increased  growth  rate  and  higher  yield. Fertigation  can  be  done  at  pre determined  schedule  according  to  the  developmental and physiological  stage  of  the  crop. It also improves availability of nutrients and their uptake by plants.

Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers are water soluble and play a major role in the growth and development of Pigeon pea crop. Pulses can meet their own nitrogen requirement by symbiotic fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. However a starter dose of nitrogen and adequate amount of phosphorus are considered as essential for obtaining optimum yield. Phosphorus is one of the most important nutrients needed by legumes and it is referred as a key nutrient in crop production due to its several vital functions. It affects seed germination, cell division, flowering , fruiting, synthesis of fat, starch and biochemical activity. Potassium is known to play a vital role in activation of several enzymes. In general, injection of fertilizers into irrigation water gives a better crop response than either band or broadcasting. In this respect fertigation proposed as a means to increase efficient use of water and fertilizer to increase yield, protect environment and sustained irrigated agriculture. Considering the importance of N, P and K fertilization to Pigeon pea and the information available on fertigation to Pigeon pea was very meagre, hence the present study was initiated to study the efficacy of split application of N,P and K on growth, water and nutrient use efficiency, productivity and profitability of Pigeon pea.
The field experiment was conducted at Agronomy Farm, Department of Agronomy, Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola during three consecutive kharif seasons of 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. Eight treatments having different nutrient doses in five splits through fertigation was compared with soil application in drip and in furrow irrigation treatments and were tested in randomized block design in four replications. The treatments comprised of  100 per cent recommended dose of NPK through soil application in furrow irrigation (T1), drip irrigation with 100 per cent recommended dose of NPK  through soil application(T2),drip fertigation with 125:75:75 per cent recommended dose of NPK in five splits (T3), drip fertigation with 100:75:75 per cent recommended dose of NPK in five splits (T4), drip fertigation with 75 per cent recommended dose of NPK in five splits (T5), drip fertigation with 125:100:100 per cent recommended dose of NPK in five splits (T6), drip fertigation with 100 per cent recommended dose of NPK in five splits (T7), drip fertigation with 75:100:100 per cent recommended dose of NPK in five splits (T8). The topography of the field was fairly uniform and level and the soil was medium black cotton belonging to vertisols. The experimental soil was clay loam in texture, low in organic carbon, available nitrogen and available phosphorus and rich in available potash. The experimental site was established with inline drip irrigation system (16 mm) with an emitter discharge of 4lph. Water was applied through drip irrigation on alternate day at the rate of 100 per cent crop evapotranspiration replenishment level. Water requirement for drip irrigation system was worked out on the basis of class ‘A’ open pan evaporation method. Effective rainfall was taken into account while scheduling irrigation through drip. The values of crop coefficients for different growth stages of Pigeon pea were taken as per the FAO Irrigation Water Management. Training Manual No.3 (1986).

The total quantity of water applied (including effective rainfall) to Pigeon pea was 640.43 mm, 410.67 mm and 554.91 mm and water applied through furrow irrigation was 734.32 mm, 507.42 and 652.63 mm through furrow irrigation during the year 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 respectively. The recommended dose of fertilizer was applied as per the treatments. Phosphorus was applied as basal in furrow irrigation and as soil application in drip irrigation. The sources of nutrients were urea (46% N), single super phosphate (16% P2O5), phosphoric acid and murate of potash (60% K2O) for nitrogen, phosphorus and potash, respectively. Full dose of the nitrogen, phosphorus (through SSP) and potassium were applied in the treatments T1 and T2 through soil application at the time of sowing by the conventional method. Remaining treatments (T2,T3,T4,T5,T6,T7,T8 ) were applied with N, P (through phosphoric acid) and K in fertigation treatments in five unequal splits as 10% NPK as basal, 20% NPK at 40 DAS, 20% NPK at 60 DAS, 25% NPK at 80 DAS and 25% NPK at 100 DAS as per the growth stages of Pigeon pea. The fertilizer tank of 90 litre capacity was used to apply chemical fertilizer through the irrigation water. The variety of pigeon pea PKV-TARA was sown on 11th June, 21st June and 20th June during the year 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively with recommended dose of fertilizers 25:50: 30 kg NPK ha-1. The pigeon pea was sown by dibbling method at the paired row spacing of 90-180-90 cm. The net plot area was 5.4 m x 6.0 m. In order to record the various biometric observations, five plants were selected randomly to present the population in each net plot, labelled and observations were recorded at periodic intervals. All the growth and yield attributes and yield were recorded as per the standard procedure.Soil moisture content was estimated by gravimetric method. Soil samples were taken at the distance of 0, 15, 30 cm from dripper point (horizontal) and 0-15 and 15-30 cm depth (vertical) for studying soil moisture irrigation regime during two consecutive irrigation cycle.
 
Growth, yield attributes and yield
 
The pooled data regarding ancillary and yield attributing characters of Pigeon pea (Table 1) revealed that, drip fertigation had significantly influenced plant height, number of root nodules at 60 DAS, dry matter weight per plant, number of pods per plant and grain weight per plant. The highest values for all these characters were recorded with application of 125% N and 100% P and K through drip fertigation, closely followed by 100% NPK  and 75% N and 100% P and K, However lowest values for all the growth and yield attributing characters were observed in furrow irrigation with conventional method of fertilizer application (T1) and 100% NPK as basal with drip irrigation (T2). The treatment T6 i.e. drip fertigation with 125% N + 100% P+ 100% K in five splits was found at par with 100% NPK ha-1 in respect of all the growth and yield characters.Increase in the levels of N, P and K through fertigation increases the plant height, number of branches, dry matter weight per plant and root nodules per plant at 60 DAS which might be due to enhanced availability and uptake of nutrients leading to enhanced photosynthesis, expansion of leaves and translocation of nutrients to the reproductive parts as compared to soil application method Singh and Yadav (2008) and Manikandan et al., (2015) also reported the beneficial effect of higher level of N, P and K fertigation on growth and yield attributes which indicated that pigeon pea required more nutrients for enhancing the growth and yield attributes Vanishree et al. (2019) also reported that higher number of pods,seed weight g plant-1, stalk and seed yields was recorded with drip fertigation of recommended N and P2O5 in five splits using water soluble fertilizers (WSF) compared to other drip fertigation of water soluble and normal fertilizers at different levels of splits.

Table 1: Growth, yield attributing characters, grain yield and harvest index of pigeon pea as influenced by different fertigation treatments (Pooled of 3 years).



Application of higher level of fertigation i.e. 125:100:100 per cent recommended dose of NPK in five splits recorded maximum number of pods plant (301) and grain weight per plant (152.71 g) and established its significance over 100 per cent recommended dose of N,P and K in furrow irrigation and drip irrigation through soil application and all other lower level of fertigation. The substantial increase in number of pods per plant and grain weight per plant due to higher levels of fertigation than lower level and conventional fertilizer application method was associated with the improvement in various growth attributes viz. plant height, number of branches, functional leaves, leaf area, dry matter accumulation per plant and its subsequent translocations to sink. The cumulative effect of these finally improved the number of pods per plant and grain weight per plant, because the ability of pigeon pea crop to produce and support more number of pods depends on dry matter accumulation and its translocation to sink. The increase in more number of pods per plant and grain weight per plant under higher level of fertigation might be due to enhanced availability and uptake of nutrients to enhance photosynthesis, expansion of leaves and translocation of nutrients to reproductive parts as compared to lower rate of N, P and K given through fertigation and over conventional soil application of fertilizers. Furrow irrigation with 100% NPK (T1) recorded significantly lower number of pods per plant and grain weight per plant than all other treatments may be due to leaching of nutrients and moisture variations between two successive irrigationswith lower uptake of nutrients. Similar advantage of higher level of fertigation of nutrients in improving the number of pods per plant and grain weight per plant were reported earlier by Kumar and Kushwaha (2006) and Manikandan and Sivasubramaniam (2014).

Grain yield and harvest index
 
Pooled data of three years indicated in Table 2 revealed that, drip fertigation at 125 per cent recommended N, 100 per cent P and 100 per cent K ha-1 had recorded significantly higher Pigeon pea grain yield in the individual years as well as in pooled (4053 Kg ha-1) of three years and followed by drip fertigation at 100 per cent RDNPK ha-1 which registered next higher Pigeon pea grain yield of 3913 kg ha-1. There was a significant response to fertigation of all the nutrients through drip in five splits than furrow and drip irrigation coupled with conventional method of fertilizer application. The lowest pooled grain yield was recorded at T1 (Furrow irrigation with 100 % NPK as soil application) which might be due to losses of fertilizers through leaching and volatilization in conventional method of fertilizer application. Drip fertigation at 75 per cent recommended dose of NPK ha-1 registered significantly comparable yield with 100 per cent recommended dose of NPK ha-1 applied through soil by conventional method during 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 years of study and pooled of three years also showed the similar trend indicating 25 per cent fertilizer saving through fertigation when compared to conventional method of fertilizer application with drip irrigation. The saving of fertilizers might be due to reduction in losses of nutrients through volatilization and leaching and better movement of nutrients under drip fertigation as against soil application of fertilizers. Drip fertigation at higher level of 125:100:100 per cent NPK ha-1 fertigation recorded 52.67 per cent and 29.06 per cent increase in yield over conventional soil application with furrow irrigation and conventional soil application with drip irrigation respectively over the pooled of three years. Better crop growth at higher fertigation levels influenced the yield attributes favourably. The increase in yield might be due to better proportion of air-soil-water which was maintained throughout the life period of crop in drip fertigation compared to surface irrigation with conventional method of soil application of fertilizers. Increased nutrients availability and absorption by the crop at the optimum moisture supply coupled with frequent and higher nutrient supply by fertigation and consequent better formation and translocation of assimilates from source to sink might have increased seed yield under fertigation. The results are in conformity with the findings of Praharaj and Kumar (2012), Chandrashekhar et al. (2014); Praharaj et al., (2016); Vimalendran and Latha (2016).

Table 2: Available soil moisture content (%), water and nutrient use efficiency as influenced by different treatments in pigeon pea (Pooled of 3 years).



The harvest index was significantly influenced due to fertigation over conventional method of fertilizer application. Highest pooled harvest index of 36.62 was registered in the treatment of drip fertigation with 100% N + 75% P+75% K in five splits followed by 125% N + 75% P+ 75% K in five splits. The results are in conformity with the results of Singh and Singh (2012) and Chandrashekhar et al. (2014) who reported that harvest index increased with increase in the level of fertigation indicating efficient utilization of the biomass for conservation in grain yield.
 
Water use efficiency and nutrient use efficiency
 
Water use efficiency is important tool to assess the productivity of crop per unit of water utilized. In pooled data of WUE and NUE (Table 3) , it was observed that, highest water use efficiency of 7.85 Kg ha-1 mm was recorded with drip fertigation at higher level of 125:100:100 per cent NPK ha-1 followed by water use efficiency of 7.59 Kg ha-1 mm in fertigation level of 100:100:100 per cent NPK ha-1. Lowest value of water use efficiency (3.11) was noticed where furrow irrigation was given with conventional soil application of fertilizers. This might be due to more water consumed in furrow irrigation with less yield compared to all the drip and fertigation treatments. Nitrogen, phosphoric acid and potassium applied through drip irrigation had distinct bearing as evident from higher WUE with higher level of recommended dose of NPK. Markedly higher WUE was recorded with higher level of fertigation than lower level, because of adequate and timely availability of water and nutrients and their positive interaction might have simulated the early growth and increased the yield to record higher WUE under drip fertigation with higher levels compared to soil application of fertilizers. Praharaj et al., (2014), Vimalendran and Latha (2014), Praharaj et al., (2016) also reported the similar finding of increasing water use efficiency with increasing level of fertigation.

Table 3: GMR, NMR, B:C ratio and economic efficiency as influenced by different fertigation treatments in pigeon pea (Pooled of 3 Years).



Maximum nutrient use efficiency was observed in all the treatments where fertilizer was applied as fertigation in five splits as compared to soil application of fertilizer in furrow and drip irrigation.The nutrient use efficiency was considerably increased in drip fertigation compared to soil application of N, P and K fertilizers. This could be attributed to regular application of N,P and K (as high as five splits in drip fertigation) combined with irrigation water in the active root zone of the crop and their interaction in even N distribution in the soil with minimum leaching of nutrients away from the root zone. These results are in accordance with the findings of Hassan et al., (2010), Praharaj et al., (2014).
 
Soil moisture content
 
The soil moisture data indicated in Table 2 revealed that, adequate soil moisture availability ensures successful Pigeon pea production under drip irrigation. The soil moisture data indicated that, in drip fertigation system below dripper point (0-15 cm), the moisture content at 24 hrs. after drip irrigation showed higher soil moisture content in the top layer and progressively decline vertically in the bottom layer (15-30 cm). The results of present investigation indicated that uniform soil moisture distribution due to increased frequency of irrigation at once in two days led to higher and constant moisture availability nearer to field capacity. Similar results in respect of soil moisture distribution in cotton have been reported by Suganya et al., (2007) and Gokila (2012) in drip irrigation. At 60 DAS, 120 DAS and at 150 DAS, soil moisture in all the fertigation treatment was found higher compared to the furrow irrigation. In all fertigation treatments, the moisture availability was at par due to equal application of the water in all the fertigation treatments.
 
Economics
 
Fertigation at 125 per cent recommended dose of N 100 per cent P and 100 per cent K registered the maximum GMR (Rs 226807 ha-1) and NMR (Rs176604 ha-1) when pooled over three years being comparable with values of 100 per cent fertigation of N,P and K. (Table 3).The higher level of 125 per cent fertigation of recommended dose of NPK ha-1 registered 51.98 per cent increase in NMR than 100 per cent soil application of N,P and K through conventional method with furrow irrigation. The similar trend of B:C ratio as observed in individual year of 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 were also observed in pooled data of three years. The data presented in Table 3 indicated that split application of N , P and K fertilizers also improved the  economic efficiency (net returns per day) in Pigeon pea and higher economic efficiency (883 Rs day-1ha-1 ) was noticed with higher level of 125 per cent N with 100 per cent P and K (T6) followed by T7 i.e. DF with 100% N + 100% P+ 100% K in five splits .Similar results were reported by Singh (2012); Praharaj and Kumar (2012); Praharaj et al., (2014). 
 
Drip fertigation with 125% N and 100% P and K of recommended dose  in five splits found to be best treatment for improving growth attributes, maximizing the yield and beneficial in increasing the productivity and economic returns of pigeon pea.
 

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