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Oberlin College

Publication Date

Spring 2006

Program Name

Viet Nam: Ecology and Sustainability in the Mekong Delta

Abstract

Rice farmers in Vietnam’s Red River Delta and Mekong Delta are now fully addicted to using fertilizers to sustain intensive rice production. The introduction of high yielding rice varieties in the late 1960’s brought with it the ability to grow crops continuously throughout year, and the need to supplement natural soil conditions with both organic and inorganic fertilizers. Rice yields have increased rapidly in the past 40 years. If intensive agriculture is to continue producing the high yields that Vietnam has come to expect, however, proper management of fertilizer use must begin now. In this study, three intensive rice fields from alluvial soils of the Red River Delta and two from the Mekong Delta were sampled and tested for nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic matter content. The results of the analysis showed that levels of nitrogen were very low in all five fields, phosphorus levels were higher in the Red River Delta in general, and organic carbon levels were low and corresponded with low nitrogen levels. Fertilizer use data was inconclusive, but cropping patterns can be analyzed based on the natural conditions of the field locations. Based on these nutrient levels, it is apparent that the use of organic matter, in the form of farmyard manure and compost, must be increased to sustain soil conditions suitable for high yielding rice production in the future. Crop rotation between rice and a leguminous crop would also help to maintain healthy soil conditions. The discrepancy between phosphorus levels deserves further consideration.

Disciplines

Agronomy and Crop Sciences

 

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