More rice would be nice: Polysulphate can help

25 March 2020

More rice would be nice: Polysulphate can help

The results of a trial in Indonesia signpost a strategy to help more of the world’s rice crop reach its full yield potential by using Polysulphate.

Fulfilling ambitious yield potential

The trial was carried out on a demonstration plot in Indonesia. Indonesia produced almost 40 million tonnes of rice in 2019 which is about 8% of global rice production and makes the nation the third largest rice producer in the world. However, to improve productivity by 38% to reach the national harvest target set for 2040 the country is more and more focused on optimizing the use of fertilizer.

Doing different to make a difference

Rice farmers in Indonesia are familiar with the practice of applying urea with NPK to their rice crop. Interestingly, the trial on two varieties of paddy rice in West Java province, compared the conventional crop nutrition practice of the area with an alternative strategy replacing the NPK with Polysulphate – the natural mineral fertilizer containing sulphur, magnesium, potassium and calcium.

The results of using Polysulphate instead of NPK on the rice crop included a 16% yield increase, bigger and stronger panicles and higher grain weight. There also appeared to be more resistance to lodging, or damage caused by the wind, and improved resistance to common diseases.

Input-efficient sustainable farming

According to the study, rice production accounts for over 14% of the total fertilizer used in agriculture worldwide. If, as this study in Indonesia suggests, switching to Polysulphate provides the balanced nutrition a crop needs, increasing both productivity and the effectiveness of other applied nutrients then targeted, balanced fertilizer use can play a key role in more input-efficient and sustainable farming. 

The full report is available on the International Potash Institue website.