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Effects of the ridge mulched system on soil water and inorganic nitrogen distribution in the Loess Plateau of China

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Title: Effects of the ridge mulched system on soil water and inorganic nitrogen distribution in the Loess Plateau of China
Authors: Jiang, Rui Browse this author
Li, Xiao Browse this author
Zhu, Wei Browse this author
Wang, Kun Browse this author
Guo, Sheng Browse this author
Misselbrook, Tom Browse this author
Hatano, Ryusuke Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Keywords: Soil water
Inorganic N
Plastic film mulch
Ridge mulched system
Loess Plateau
Issue Date: 30-Apr-2018
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal Title: Agricultural water management
Volume: 203
Start Page: 277
End Page: 288
Publisher DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2018.03.027
Abstract: The semi-arid region of the Loess Plateau is typical of rain-fed agricultural production in Northwestern China. In this area, the ridge mulched system (RM) is a widely-used measure to increase crop yield. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of RM on soil water and inorganic nitrogen (N) distribution, and grain yield of maize (Zea mays L.). The study was conducted over three consecutive years and consisted of four treatments (each replicated three times): i) RM with N application rate of 260 kg N ha(-1) (RM-N260); ii) RM with 180 kg N ha(-1) (RM-N180); iii) a traditional flat cultivation system without mulching (F) with 260 kg N ha(-1) (F-N260); iv) F with 180 kg N ha(-1) (F-N180). Mean soil water content during the maize growing season was increased by RM in 2013 only. However, RM increased the soil water storage significantly at the 3-leaf (V3) and 6-leaf stage (V6), and decreased evapotranspiration (ET) during pre-silking stage in all years. Compared to F, RM significantly improved maize grain yield by 79-123% in 2013, 23-25% in 2014, and 11-12% in 2015. Following three years of maize cultivation, soil inorganic N content increased substantially (two- to three-fold) in the RM system and 60% of the total inorganic N was accumulated in the top soil layers (0-60 cm) under the mulched ridge. Relative changes were much smaller in F, and most of inorganic N was stored in 0-20 cm and 100-160 cm soil layers. Generally, RM resulted in higher soil water storage during the pre-silking stage, which was the main reason for the improved maize grain yield. The nitrate leaching risk was reduced in RM-N180 compared with F, but nitrate leaching from the furrows between ridges was observed in RM-N260. However, the large increase in soil inorganic N content in RM-N180 after three years cultivation indicates an oversupply of N and a potential risk of N losses to the environment over the longer term. Our study indicates, therefore, that RM is a suitable system for maize cropping in the semi-arid region of the Loess Plateau, with benefits in water and N use efficiency, but recommendations for appropriate N application rates are required to ensure long term agricultural sustainability, accounting for grain yields and environmental impacts. The mechanisms for inorganic N accumulation under the RM system are not fully understood and warrant further investigation.
Rights: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Type: article
Appears in Collections:農学院・農学研究院 (Graduate School of Agriculture / Faculty of Agriculture) > 雑誌発表論文等 (Peer-reviewed Journal Articles, etc)

Submitter: 波多野 隆介

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