Scheduling of nitrogen fertilizer topdressing during panicle differentiation to improve grain yield of rice with a long growth duration

Liu, Y.; Zhu, X.; He, X.; Li, C.; Chang, T.; Chang, S.; Zhang, H.; Zhang, Y.

Scientific Reports 10(1): 15197


ISSN/ISBN: 2045-2322
PMID: 32938952
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-71983-y
Accession: 071054550

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Topdressing at panicle differentiation (PF) according to soil fertility and regularity of rice nutrient absorption is an important agronomic practice used in cultivation of rice cultivars with a long growth duration. We studied the impacts of timing of nitrogen fertilizer application during PF on photosynthesis and yield-related agronomic traits in 'Y-Liang-You 900' and 'Y-Liang-You 6', which are representative rice cultivars with a long growth duration. Data for two years showed that timing of topdressing application during PF affected panicles per unit area, percentage grain set, spikelets per panicle, and leaf photosynthetic traits during the grain-filling period. Topdressing at the initial stage of flag-leaf extension resulted in higher grain yield (typically by 10.55-19.95%) than in plants without topdressing. Grain yield was significantly correlated with flag leaf photosynthetic rate and leaf SPAD value (r=0.5640 and r=0.5589, respectively; p<0.01) at an advanced grain-filling stage (30 days after heading). Surprisingly, grain yield was not correlated with carbohydrate remobilization from the stem and sheath. For rice cultivars with a long growth duration, nitrogen-fertilizer topdressing must be applied at the initial stage of flag-leaf extension to delay leaf senescence during the grain-filling stage and realize the enhanced yield potential.