Improved yield by harvesting water with ridges and subgrooves using buried and surface plastic mulchs in a semiarid area of ChinaSoil and Tillage Research

About

Authors
Li-Min Zhou, Feng Zhang, Chang-An Liu
Year
2015
DOI
10.1016/j.still.2015.01.006
Subject
Agronomy and Crop Science / Earth-Surface Processes / Soil Science

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Text

h se jing U

Soil & Tillage Research 150 (2015) 21–29

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Soil & Tillage journa l homepage: www.eState Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-Ecosystem, Institute of Arid Agroecology, School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, 730000 China cKey Laboratory of Tropical Plant Resources and Sustainable Use Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun town,

Mengla county, Yunnan Province 666303, China

A R T I C L E I N F O

Article history:

Received 24 June 2014

Received in revised form 1 January 2015

Accepted 17 January 2015

Keywords:

Ridge-furrow

Plastic film mulch

Subgroove

Semiarid area

Loess Plateau

A B S T R A C T

This paper determines the responses of soil temperature, water status and crop yields to a new planting pattern involving ridges and subgrooves with plastic film mulching in a millet-field pea-spring wheat-potato cropping system. The study was conducted in a typical semiarid area, during the four annual growing seasons of 2005–2008 and five treatments were designed: (1) a flat plot with no mulching, which is the conventional tillage practice (CK); (2) alternating ridges and furrows with no mulching (M0C0); (3) alternating ridges and furrows with no mulching, and subgrooves mulched with plastic film (M0C); (4) alternating ridges and furrows, with only the ridges mulched with plastic film on the surface (MC0); and (5) alternating ridges and furrows, as well as subgrooves, with the ridges and subgrooves mulched with plastic film (MC). The subgrooves with plastic film mulching increased topsoil temperature, the average daily soil temperature of the 4-growing seasons was 16.7, 16.8, 16.9, 17.4 and 17.2 C for the CK, M0C0, MC0, M0C and MC, respectively. The soil temperature was significantly higher in the M0C and MC than in the CK, M0C0 and MC0 in May 2006, September in 2007 and May 2008. In average and wet years, the soil water content in the 20–40 cm soil layer was 6.2–37.7% higher in the MC than in the CK. The ridges and subgrooves with plastic film mulching improved crop yields, and the average yield over the four years was higher in the MC than in the CK, M0C0, M0C and MC0 by 163%, 98%, 62% and 21%, respectively. Potato is a staple and economic crop in this region, and the ratio of large and moderate-sized potato tuber yield to total tuber yield was 21.7% higher in the treatments with subgrooves than in the treatments without subgrooves. In conclusion, the technique of ridges and subgrooves with plastic film mulching is an effective practice for improving crop yields in semiarid agroecosystems. ã 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction

Precipitation is the main water resource affecting crop production in semiarid areas (Gan et al., 2013; Xiao et al., 2013;

Nyakudya et al., 2014). In these regions, low intensity and unpredictable precipitation, and high evaporation always severely limit crop yields (Turner, 2004; Zhou et al., 2009; Liu et al., 2013a).

Agricultural production in these regions depends on precipitation, and farmers are concerned about the optimized water use. The highly effective use of precipitation is a key priority in guaranteeing food security and sustainability. The Loess Plateau of northwestern China is characterized by a semiarid monsoon climate, where no water resources are available for agriculture irrigation. From the 1960s–1990s, in order to reduce runoff and soil erosion and increase the rainfall use efficiency in this region, a large number of terraced fields and silt-retention dams were built (Zheng, 2003; Lu et al., 2006; Yang, 2006; Chen et al., 2007).

Although terraced fields and silt-retention dams increase the crops water use efficiency, they need significant inputs of much money and labor. Since the 1990s many more cheaper and effective technologies, including plastic film mulching and rainwater harvesting, have been widely applied in semiarid agroecosystems (Wang et al., 2005; Jia et al., 2006; Zhou et al., 2009; Liu et al., 2009, 2014; Zhao et al., 2014). In particular, ridge-furrow rainwater harvesting with plastic film has proven to be one of the most * Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 691 8713369; fax: +86 691 8713369.

E-mail address: changan78@163.com (C.-A. Liu). 1 Both authors contributed equally to this work. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2015.01.006 0167-1987/ã 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.Improved yield by harvesting water wit buried and surface plastic mulchs in a

Li-Min Zhou a,1, Feng Zhang b,1, Chang-An Liu c,* a Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Agricultural Meteorology, School of Applied Meteorology, Nan

China bridges and subgrooves using miarid area of China niversity of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 21044,

Research lsev ier .com/ locate /st i l l 22 L.-M. Zhou et al. / Soil & Tillage Research 150 (2015) 21–29effective methods to increase crop yields and water use efficiency (WUE), which it does by means of collecting water from light rain, retaining the surface runoff from heavy rain, and reducing evaporation, and compared to the conventional tillage practice, the maize and potato yields in the ridge-furrow with plastic film mulching increased by 28–90% and 57–78%, respectively, and the corresponding WUE increased by 26–88% and 62–70%, respectively (Bu et al., 2013; Gao et al., 2014; Zhao et al., 2014).

In the semiarid regions of China, the major shallow-root crops including Millet (Setaria italica L.), field pea (Pisum sativum

L.), spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) (Xiao et al., 2007; Wang et al., 2008; Duan et al., 2013). The soil water and nutrient contents in the top soil layers are crucial for the growth of shallow-root crops (Ju et al., 2006;

Liu et al., 2013a). Existing studies have mainly been aimed at the effects of ridge-furrow rainwater harvesting with plastic film on these crop yields and WUE. The new tillage practice of harvesting water with ridges and subgrooves which are plastic films that are buried 40 cm below the soil surface has been recently introduced into rainfed farming systems on the Loess