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Use of Integrated Approaches to Manage Inferior Soil and Water Resources for Rice Production*
Muhammad Imran, Ahmad Khan, and Munir Hussain Zia
Department of Soil Science, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad -38040, Pakistan

Abstract:
Wire house pot culture experiments were conducted to monitor the effects of organic amendments and Effective Microorganisms (EM) on the reclamation of a saline soil material, using canal and brackish water rice crop (Oryza sativa L.).  Application of green manure and farm yard manure with EM decreased the electrical conductivity (EC) and sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) of soils irrigated with canal brackish water.  Green manuring with EM had a significant effect on the vegetative growth of rice, panicle bearing tillers, straw, and grain yield.  In rice leaves Na+ concentration was increased.

Keywords:  Farmyard manure, Green manure, effective microorganisms, brackish water, canal water, salt-affected soil.
*Originally Published:  Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 3 (6) 1062-1065, 2000 ©Copyright by the Capricorn Publications 2000.

Introduction:
Undesirable increases in salinity in soil or water is a problem that has confronted civilizations for centuries.  But it is not merely a problem of the past.  Salinity problems are containing to have a significant impact on society, primarily because of consequent damage to sources of water supply and to agricultural productivity.  Land salinization is one of the major desertification processes in Pakistan.  Salt affected soils in Pakistan are extended to 6.57 m Ha-1 (Khan, 1998).

Much evidence indicates that organic manures facilitate the reclamation of salt-affected soils (Dhawen et al., 1958; Rashid et al., 1986; Swarup 1991; Ghafoor et al., 1996; Iiyas et al., 1997) and the plant growth is also beneficially affected (Swarup 1992; Qadir et al., 1996).  Incorporation of organic manures in soil improve the water penetration into soil, even irrigated with high SAR waters.  The beneficial effects or organic manures are derived from the evolution of CO2.  Swarup (1992) experimented different organic manures in salt-affected conditions, whereby he found that an increase in nutrient availability was due to CO2 production, which reduced the pH and redox potential (Eh) of the soil.  Increased availability of nutrients resulted in the enhancement of yield and mineral uptake of rice.

The expenses of reclamation measures lead the scientists to emphasis on biological methods of soil and water management.  In this regard EM technology is an alternate for higher crop production and improved soil quality.  Green manure with EM improved the physical properties of top soil (Karim et al., 1992) and increased the yields and nutrient uptake of rice (Muhammad, 1994).  Salt affected soils treated with EM also show better results.  EM treated compost can be recommended as an efficient soil amendment in ameliorating a slightly saline soil (Pairintra and Pakdee, 1994).  A wire-house study was undertaken to evaluate the effects of organic amendments with EM on the reclamation of salt-affected soil using rice culture.

Materials and Methods.

A sandy clay loam soil material was air dried, ground, and passed through 2mm sieve.  The experiment consisted of a Complete Randomized Design (CRD) with 3 replications and 5 amendments.  Four treatments were organic amendments where FYM and green manure were applied with and without EM.  Sesbania aculeata was used as green manure and both farmyard manure and green manure were applied at the rate of 10t Ha-1 in post filled with 12kg of soil.  The pots has no leaching provisions.  After 20 days 9 uniform rice (Oryza sativa L.) seedlings were transplanted 3 per hill in a triangular fashion in all the pots.

Nitrogen was applied in the form of urea @ 150Kg ha-1 in two splits, one-half at sowing time and other half at tilling stage.  Phosphorus was applied as super phosphate and K as potassium sulphate at the rate of 67 and 62Kg ha-1 respectively to all the treatments just before transplantation and were mixed with the surface soil.  Two sets of the study were conducted with the same treatments but irrigated with water having different levels of EC, SAR, and RSC (Table 1) i.e. one irrigation water was fit according to the criteria for the suitability or irrigation water  (US Salinity Laboratory Staff, 1954) and in second experiment unfit or brackish water was used.  Following plant harvest, the soil was sampled at 0-15 cm depth.  Chemical composition of the saturated soil extract and the sodium adsorption ratio were determined.  Na+ and K+ determinations were made by flame photometry.  Ca plus Mg was determined by titration with EDTA.  CO3 and HCO3 analysis was carried out by titration with acid using phenolphthalien and methyl orange as indicators as described by Chapman and Pratt (1961).  Chloride concentration was determined by chloride analyzer.

Rice tissues and Y-leaf blades (Second leave below the panicle) were sampled at flower emergence and plant harvest stages.  Frozen leaf samples were thawed and crushed thoroughly using a glass rod and centrifuged at 1500 rpm for 15 minutes.  The supernatant cell sap was removed by micropipette and stored in opendroff tubes.  After dilution with distilled water, subsequent analysis for Na+, K+ and Cl- was done.

Data for yield and yield components and the composition of soil saturation extracts were subjected to analysis of variance and Duncan Multiple Range Test.

Results and Discussion
Table 1:  Original Soil and Irrigation Water Analysis
Analysis of
SAR (m mol L-1)
EC/EC (dSm-1)
pHRSC
Soil
25.86
6.08
8.36
--
Canal Water
2.20
0.30
--
0.6
Brackish Water
12.32
2.67
--
9.40

Table 2:  Influence of Organic Amendments With EM on the Soil Characteristics

pH
EC
SAR
Amendments
Canal Water
Brackish Water
Canal Water
Brackish Water
Canal Water
Brackish Water
None (Control)
8.39e
8.80d
6.10f
8.65f
19.08e
32.88dc
EM only
8.38e
8.80d
6.04e
8.30e
19.00e
31.33d
FYM
8.33d
8.74c
5.98d
8.17d
18.07d
30.01d
FYM +EM
8.32c
8.70bc
5.80bc
8.10c
17.60c
27.46c
GM
8.26b
8.68b
5.80b
7.98b
16.90b
22.18b
GM+EM
8.21a
8.60a
5.24a
7.80a
15.18a
20.18a

Table 3:  Influence of Soil Amendments With EM Added to Salt-Affected Soil on Yield Components of Rice Plants
TreatmentHeight (cm)
Straw wt/pot
Grain wt/pot
No of tillers/pot
Panicle bearing tillers
With Canal Water





None
47.90d
94.10d
33.60d
42e
39.00f
EM Only
47.30d
96.28cd
48.40c
48d
41.60e
FYM
50.80c
99.10c
47.60c
49d
44.00d
FYM + EM
55.60b
111.80b
53.80b
58c
51.00c
GM
54.5-b
112.00b
54.80b
64b
58.60b
GM + EM
61.40a
122.00a
60.80a
75a
64.00a
With Brackish Water





None
30.60e
60.00f
20.00f
20.00b
17.00c
EM Only
32.60d
63.00e
26.00e
21.00b
17.00c
FYM
34.70c
67.60d
29.20d
21.00b
18.00c
FYM + EM
36.80b
73.00c
33.40c
23.33b
20.00b
GM
37.00b
76.00b
36.00b
25.00ab
22.00b
GM + EM
40.20a
80.10a
41.00a
28.00a
25.00a

Table 4:   Chemical Composition Of Rice Irrigated With Canal and Brackish Water
TreatmentNa
K
Cl

Canal
Brackish
Canal
BrackishCanal
Brackish
Non
64.00d
68.00c
221.00d
240.00c
172.00c
185.00c
EM only
60.00c
67.00c
223.00d
243.00c
170.00c
184.00c
FYM
61.00c
67.00bc
230.00c
244.00c
164.00bc
184.00bc
FYM + EM
58.00b
65.00b
239.00b
251.00b
160.00b
180.00b
GM
58.00b
64.00b
239.00b
256.00b
159.00b
178.00b
GM + EM
52.200a
60.00a
256.00a
264.00a
150.00a
170.00a

Soil Characteristics: 

The effect of amendments along with EM on the properties of soils, irrigated with canal and brackish water are showing in Table 2.  The Na+ (SAR) in soil water tends to increase while soluble salts (ECe) tend to decrease the pH (Cruz-Romero and Coleman, 1975; Bajwa et al., 1983; Minhas, 1996).  Consequently, pH, attains values in response to the interactive effect of ECe and SAR of the soil-water system.  In control and EM alone the pH remained more or less constant after harvesting, in case of canal water irrigation.  In case of EM treatment no change in pH might be because of poor microbial count due to lack of carbon as an energy source (Hussain et al. 1999).  In case of canal water irrigation, the FYM and GM amendments caused statistically significant decrease in pH up to 8.33 and 8.26 respectively.  Because the decomposition of green manures, considerable amount of organic acids are liberated, which bring down the soil pH to some extent besides forming a number of salts with sodium ion exchange complex.  The results are in line with those of Palaniappon and Budha (1992).  In case of brackish water irrigation FYM and GM application alone or with EM showed decreasing trend in soil pH.  This might be due to active role of lactic acid and H+, respectively while getting carbon from organic sources.  Zia et al., (1999) also reported the superiority of organic amendments with EM to lower down pH.  Changes in EC are shown in Table 2.  All the treatments showed a decreasing trend in EC, but along with EM, the results were pronounced.  This might be due to the reason that dispersion effect of Na+ was mitigated by the application of organic amendments (Naidu and Rengasamy, 1993; Abbas, 1996), The high amount (due to infiltration rate and improved physical properties of soil) of water passing through soils helped to leach soluble salts and decreased EC (Oster, 1982; Hussain et al., 1986; Shainberg et al., 1989).  Ahmad (1999) and Karim et al. (1992) also reported that the use of EM culture with organic amendments improves physical properties of the soil.  These under the brackish water treatments showed less effectiveness of all the amendments although EC is decreased as compared to control.

The SAR is associated with the sodic hazards of irrigation water.  Sodium (SAR/ESP) in soils tends to disperse the soil resulting in decreased water intake rate and root penetration.  Changes in soil SAR are shown in Table 2.  All amendments treatments eventually lowered the SAR, reflecting their effectiveness in dissolving and penetrating NA+ in soil.  Green manure along with EM gave better results both with canal and brackish water irrigation.  Here the superiority of GM+EM treatment may be due to high Ca+2 content and microbes, which further enhanced mineralization rate.  Studies conducted by Zia et al. (1999) Shukla and Pandey (1988) are also in line with the results.  Hussain et al. (1991) also reported that microbes (EM) increase the availability of nutrients.  The valance dilution effect (Eaton and Sokoloff, 1935) has definitely been responsible in the reclamation of the soils particularly with FYM and GM application.  It is also established fact that once the soil is put under cultivation of crops, some Ca+2 is made available through the dissolution of soil line under the action of plant roots and soil microorganisms (Alderfer, 1964; Ahmad et al., 1990; Qadir et al., 1996).  The effectiveness of organic amendments has also been shown by Chand et al. (1977); Haider and Hussain (1976) and Naidu and Rengasamy (1993) during soils reclamation.  Soils with adequate organisms matter are efficient in maintaining proper nutrient level, IR and soil pH.

Crop Growth and Yield:
The plant is a sensitive indicator of the efficiency of reclamation Overstreet et al. (1951).  Date showing the influence of organic amendments applied with and without EM on yield and yield components of rice plants is presented in Table 3.  Plants growth and grain yield were increased significantly with all the treatments however maximum increase was observed in green manured pots with EM.  Green manure alone and FYM +EM were found equally beneficial.

Green manuring along with EM was also effective in case of irrigation with brackish water.  The CO2 released during decompostion of GM solubilizes soil CaCO3 to make Ca2+ more available for countering the sodic hazard of irrigation waters.

CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O = Ca(HCO3)2
X-Na+ + Ca (HCO3)2 = X-Ca+2 + 2NaHCO3

Yield decline in controlled pots may be attributed to the accumulation of salts injurious to the crop and nutritional imbalances (Pearson, 1960; Munns et at., 1982; Mass and Hoffman, 1977), Organic amendments with EM performed better that might be due to high solubility effect as well as high contents of Ca, P plus other nutrients and microbes, which further enhanced their avilability.  Hussain et al (1991) and Zia et al. (1999) also reported similar results.
Yield was lower in brackish water irrigation treatments, which migh be due to the reason that the EC remained high (>6.0 dSm-1) than that at which 50 percent yield reduction is expected (Van Schifgaarde, 1994; Aslam 1987; Brasler et al 1982).

Chemical Composition Of Rice:
Effects of various treatments on the chemical composition of plants are given in Table 4.  Application of organic amendments in canal irrigated as well as brackish water applied soils, helped plants to take up lesser quantity of hazardous ions ie., Na+ and Cl- which improved the uptake beneficial element ie., K.  Similar results have been reported by Madaliar and Sharma (1965), who reported that manures when decompose in soils release CO2 which mitigates alkalinity besides making it more permeable.  The CO2 so released solubilizes soil CaCO3 to make Ca+2 more available for countering the sodic hazard of irrigation water.  Organic amendments worked more efficiently when applied along with EM.  Green manuring was found better than FYM and EM.  EM applied alone could not perform effectively probably due to lack of carbon as an energy source.

Conclusions: 
Considering all the parameters, it is evident that organic manures ie., FYM and GM are beneficial for the reclamation and management of salt affected soil and brackish water for sustaining crop growth and yield.  With the addition of EM, the effectiveness of organic amendments can be improved further.

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