Mud Ball

Rice is the commonest staple meals in Asia, the place about 90% of the world’s rice is produced and consumed. India produced practically 43 million ha. In the nice and cozy season, rice is often planted as an annual plant. It could be grown in a moist (paddy) or dry (filed) setting. About 75% of the worldwide rice manufacturing comes from irrigated rice techniques as a result of most rice varieties specific their full yield potential when water provide is satisfactory. The complete plant vitamins faraway from the sector by grain rice is totally different from the quantity plant uptake in the course of the development interval of straw and grain collectively.

Nitrogen improves plant top, panicle quantity, leaf dimension, spikelet quantity, and full spikelet quantity, all of which affect a rice plant’s yield potential. The variety of tillers that emerge in the course of the vegetative stage has a big effect on panicle quantity. The reproductive stage determines the amount of spikelet’s and the variety of crammed spikelets. Urea is the commonest nitrogen fertilizer utilized in rice fields. Nitrogen fertilizer utilized to the rice crop is partially misplaced via totally different mechanisms together with ammonia volatilization, denitrification, leaching and runoff losses.

Losses of fertilizer in discipline

Fertilizer nitrogen could also be misplaced from the soil in a number of alternative ways, together with; ammonia volatilization, nitrate leaching and nitrate denitrification and runoff losses. Factors affecting these losses embrace fertilizer compound, fertilizer kind, sort of software, timing of software, soil properties, rainfall quantity and depth, and temperature and wind after software.

Ammonia volatilization -Ammonia volatilization is a chemical course of through which ammonium from urea or ammonium-containing fertilizers (e.g. urea) are reworked to ammonia fuel at excessive pH on the soil floor. When fertilizer is built-in, losses are minimal, however when fertilizer is positioned on the floor, losses is perhaps vital.

Nitrate denitrification– Nitrate denitrification is a organic course of that occurs within the soil profile when there are sufficient accessible nitrates, a labile carbon substrate, and low oxygen ranges, as in slow-draining soils. In most dryland agricultural soils, losses are minimal, however in waterlogged circumstances, losses could be vital.

Nitrate leaching– Nitrate leaching a bodily course of that happens with the drainage of water via the profile. While nitrate motion inside the profile is frequent in cracking clay soils, large-scale lack of nitrate beneath the foundation zone is minimal in most circumstances.

Runoff losses– Nitrate can get into water straight as the results of runoff of fertilizers containing nitrate which improve load of nitrogen into rivers and streams.

These losses could trigger environmental issues equivalent to polluting the environment, aquatic system and floor water. The restoration of fertilizer N utilized to rice seldom exceeds 30-40%.Fertilizer N use effectivity in lowland rice could also be maximized via a greater timing of software to coincide with the phases of peak requirement of the crop, and placement of N fertilizer within the soil with management launch.

However, nitrogen losses could be decreased a substantial extent by numerous strategies, mud ball urea software considered one of amongst them.

Mud ball approach

The International Rice Research Institute within the Philippines proposed the mud ball software approach. It entails the usage of a small quantity of fertilizer, particularly urea positioned within the middle of the mud ball which is dried and positioned within the rice discipline on the applicable time.

Mud ball urea is act as a slow-release fertilizer so it makes very long time availability of nitrogen to crop. Also, The International Rice Research Institute present that mud ball approach is superior to different strategies of fertilizer software like broadcasting, prime dressing and foliar spray. 

Pre-requisite circumstances required

The software of mud ball urea necessitates the success of sure parameters equivalent to it’s laborious work, so it will likely be extra worthwhile for the farmers having 5-6 household labor. It can also be helpful for the small famers (lower than 1 acre) and extra appropriate for low land circumstances. This approach could also be utilized in each irrigated and non-irrigated farms. However, higher outcomes could also be obtained in irrigated farms.

Method of preparation for urea balls formation

A hectare of discipline necessitates round 62,500 mud balls. Each mud ball ought to have a diameter of 3cm. To start, assemble a mud ball and use your thumb to make a gap within the middle, then place the fertilizer within the area and enclose the mud ball. Immediately after transplanting or throughout transplanting insert the mud balls 10-12 cm beneath the soil floor within the middle of each 4 rice hills.  During this era, the paddy ought to include the water stage to be 1-3cm.

Surajit Okay. De Datta, the pinnacle of the IRRI’s agronomy division, which is conducting the analysis. “Applying fertilizer using the mud ball technique results in significantly higher yield at lower fertilizer rates”. If you employ the published method in the course of the dry season, you will want 100 kilograms of fertilizer per hectare; in the event you make the most of the mud ball technique, you will solely want 60 kilograms -saving 40% of fertilizer with no discount in grain yield. You additionally save extra fertilizer in the course of the wet season, whenever you solely want 30 kilos of nitrogen per hectare reasonably than the 60 kilograms of nitrogen wanted when different strategies are used. In addition, you fertilize solely as soon as in the event you use the mud ball technique, whereas you fertilize two or 3 times in the event you use the published technique”.

Mud ball approach advantages

As within the low land paddy situation the nitrogen use effectivity was low i.e. 28-34% so by means of mud ball urea the nitrogen use effectivity will increase and likewise it has much less detrimental impact to the setting and the formation of mud ball urea is straightforward.  However, when making use of the urea, we now have adopted some precautions, equivalent to not use sandy soil for the manufacturing of mud balls.


Fertilizer mud balls have been examined in farmer’s fields within the Philippines, Thailand, and India, and the outcomes have been encouraging. However, nobody is using this method on a large scale, primarily as a consequence of the truth that it is extremely time consuming .“I don’t think many farmers will be willing to work so hard preparing thousands of mud balls just to save on fertilizer,” De Datta provides. “As a result, we don’t recommend the practice to every Asian farmer.” De Datta, on the other hand, argues that small farmers should employ the mud ball technique “as long as they are willing to work hard and use family labor.” If you hire labor, the fertilizer savings will almost certainly surpass the labor cost.”

Future perspective

According to De Datta, IRRI specialists are exploring for a quicker, much less time-consuming solution to implement the mud ball idea. “Our technical department has created a machine that can directly place fertilizer 10 to 12 centimeters into the soil.”

He additional mentioned that if urea briquets, that are presently being examined by the Tennessee Valley Authority within the United States, turn into commercially out there, mud balls gained’t be needed, and labor bills shall be considerably decreased. Urea briquets, that are stable six-gram pellets, could be buried within the soil with out being encased in mud balls. The briquets have been examined, in keeping with De Datta, “and these give similar satisfactory results.”


Rajni Yadav1, Anil Kumar2, Sandip Kumar Gautam1, Manu Rani1

1Department of Soil Science, Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, Haryana; 2Janta Degree College, Auraiya, Uttar Pradesh

[email protected]


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