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Measures to reduce the loss of N from applied urea

1. Urea super granules or urea briquettes may be used in places where soil is clayey and has cation exchange capacity more than 10 cmol (+) per kg of soil.

2. Sulphur or lac coated urea is suitable where soil is liable to intermittent flooding and in situations where water management is difficult. This is more suitable for direct sown crop.

3. Urea may be mixed with moist soil and kept for 24-48 hours before application to the field. Alternatively, urea may be mixed with moist soil, made into balls of about three inch diameter and dried under shade. The balls may be placed deep into subsoil.

4. Mixing urea with five times its weight of neem cake prolongs the period of nitrogen availability to the crop.

5. For submerged soils, coating urea with coal tar and kerosene (100 kg urea is mixed with 2 kg coal tar dissolved in one litre kerosene) before mixing with neem cake is preferred to simple mixing with neem cake.

6. Coating urea with neem extract (containing about 5% neem triterpenes) at 1% rate and shade-drying for 1 to 1.5 hours before applying in direct-seeded puddled lowland rice increases nitrogen use efficiency.

7. As far as possible, urea may be applied by deep placement or plough sole placement. Deep placement of prilled urea or super granules during the last ploughing followed by flooding and planting is beneficial in light soils. Urea briquettes or super granules may be placed between four hills of transplanted rice, whereas sulphur coated or lac coated urea may be broadcast on the surface.

8. Foliar spray of 5% urea solution can be practised in situations where quick response to applied nitrogen is required. If power sprayers are used, the concentration may be increased to 15%. Fresh urea should be used to avoid toxicity due to biuret.

(Source : Kerala Agricultural University)

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