41
views
0
recommends
+1 Recommend
0 collections
    0
    shares
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Soil mulching significantly enhances yields and water and nitrogen use efficiencies of maize and wheat: a meta-analysis

      research-article
      a , b , 1 , 2 , c , 1 , 1 , 2 , 3
      Scientific Reports
      Nature Publishing Group

      Read this article at

      Bookmark
          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          Global crop yields are limited by water and nutrient availability. Soil mulching (with plastic or straw) reduces evaporation, modifies soil temperature and thereby affects crop yields. Reported effects of mulching are sometimes contradictory, likely due to differences in climatic conditions, soil characteristics, crop species, and also water and nitrogen (N) input levels. Here we report on a meta-analysis of the effects of mulching on wheat and maize, using 1310 yield observations from 74 studies conducted in 19 countries. Our results indicate that mulching significantly increased yields, WUE (yield per unit water) and NUE (yield per unit N) by up to 60%, compared with no-mulching. Effects were larger for maize than wheat, and larger for plastic mulching than straw mulching. Interestingly, plastic mulching performed better at relatively low temperature while straw mulching showed the opposite trend. Effects of mulching also tended to decrease with increasing water input. Mulching effects were not related to soil organic matter content. In conclusion, soil mulching can significantly increase maize and wheat yields, WUE and NUE, and thereby may contribute to closing the yield gap between attainable and actual yields, especially in dryland and low nutrient input agriculture. The management of soil mulching requires site-specific knowledge.

          Related collections

          Most cited references27

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Enhanced nitrogen deposition over China.

          China is experiencing intense air pollution caused in large part by anthropogenic emissions of reactive nitrogen. These emissions result in the deposition of atmospheric nitrogen (N) in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, with implications for human and ecosystem health, greenhouse gas balances and biological diversity. However, information on the magnitude and environmental impact of N deposition in China is limited. Here we use nationwide data sets on bulk N deposition, plant foliar N and crop N uptake (from long-term unfertilized soils) to evaluate N deposition dynamics and their effect on ecosystems across China between 1980 and 2010. We find that the average annual bulk deposition of N increased by approximately 8 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare (P < 0.001) between the 1980s (13.2 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare) and the 2000s (21.1 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare). Nitrogen deposition rates in the industrialized and agriculturally intensified regions of China are as high as the peak levels of deposition in northwestern Europe in the 1980s, before the introduction of mitigation measures. Nitrogen from ammonium (NH4(+)) is the dominant form of N in bulk deposition, but the rate of increase is largest for deposition of N from nitrate (NO3(-)), in agreement with decreased ratios of NH3 to NOx emissions since 1980. We also find that the impact of N deposition on Chinese ecosystems includes significantly increased plant foliar N concentrations in natural and semi-natural (that is, non-agricultural) ecosystems and increased crop N uptake from long-term-unfertilized croplands. China and other economies are facing a continuing challenge to reduce emissions of reactive nitrogen, N deposition and their negative effects on human health and the environment.
            Bookmark
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: not found
            • Article: not found

            Agriculture. Nutrient imbalances in agricultural development.

              Bookmark
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              Productivity limits and potentials of the principles of conservation agriculture.

              One of the primary challenges of our time is to feed a growing and more demanding world population with reduced external inputs and minimal environmental impacts, all under more variable and extreme climate conditions in the future. Conservation agriculture represents a set of three crop management principles that has received strong international support to help address this challenge, with recent conservation agriculture efforts focusing on smallholder farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. However, conservation agriculture is highly debated, with respect to both its effects on crop yields and its applicability in different farming contexts. Here we conduct a global meta-analysis using 5,463 paired yield observations from 610 studies to compare no-till, the original and central concept of conservation agriculture, with conventional tillage practices across 48 crops and 63 countries. Overall, our results show that no-till reduces yields, yet this response is variable and under certain conditions no-till can produce equivalent or greater yields than conventional tillage. Importantly, when no-till is combined with the other two conservation agriculture principles of residue retention and crop rotation, its negative impacts are minimized. Moreover, no-till in combination with the other two principles significantly increases rainfed crop productivity in dry climates, suggesting that it may become an important climate-change adaptation strategy for ever-drier regions of the world. However, any expansion of conservation agriculture should be done with caution in these areas, as implementation of the other two principles is often challenging in resource-poor and vulnerable smallholder farming systems, thereby increasing the likelihood of yield losses rather than gains. Although farming systems are multifunctional, and environmental and socio-economic factors need to be considered, our analysis indicates that the potential contribution of no-till to the sustainable intensification of agriculture is more limited than often assumed.
                Bookmark

                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group
                2045-2322
                20 November 2015
                2015
                : 5
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Key Laboratory of Agricultural Water Resources, Centre for Agricultural Resources Research, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences , Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China
                [2 ]Department of Soil Quality, Wageningen UR, 6700 AA , Wageningen, the Netherlands
                [3 ]Alterra, Wageningen UR , PO Box 47, 6700 AA, Wageningen, the Netherlands
                Author notes
                Article
                srep16210
                10.1038/srep16210
                4653642
                26586114
                44c135b2-906d-4044-9caf-83627e52575a
                Copyright © 2015, Macmillan Publishers Limited

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                Categories
                Article

                Uncategorized
                Uncategorized

                Comments

                Comment on this article