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Strategies for reducing the fertilizer application rate in the ridge and furrow rainfall harvesting system in semiarid regions

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      Abstract

      The ridge and furrow rainwater harvesting (RFRH) system is a promising water-saving planting technique for dryland farming, but we lack a full understanding of the effects of different fertilizer rates (N:P) on plant nutrient uptake and nutrient use efficiency (NuUE) in foxtail millet using this planting method, as well as the available nutrient residues in the soil. We conducted field studies (Loess Plateau, China) comparing RFRH planting (R) and traditional flat planting (T) at four different fertilizer rates to determine suitable fertilizer application rates for R during 2013–2015. Compared with T, R improved the soil moisture and the utilization of rainwater and fertilizer, thereby enhancing the grain yield, water use efficiency (WUE), grain nutrient uptake, and NUE in a dry year, but with no improvements in a rainy year. The grain yield and WUE exhibited parabolic increasing trends as the fertilizer application rate increased over three years, but no significant increase was found when the fertilizer rate exceeded 189:96 kg N:P ha−1 under R, which significantly reduced the NuUE and might waste nutrients. Therefore, we recommend R combined with 189:96 kg N:P ha−1 as a promising planting strategy for foxtail millet in semiarid areas.

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      Transformation of the nitrogen cycle: recent trends, questions, and potential solutions.

      Humans continue to transform the global nitrogen cycle at a record pace, reflecting an increased combustion of fossil fuels, growing demand for nitrogen in agriculture and industry, and pervasive inefficiencies in its use. Much anthropogenic nitrogen is lost to air, water, and land to cause a cascade of environmental and human health problems. Simultaneously, food production in some parts of the world is nitrogen-deficient, highlighting inequities in the distribution of nitrogen-containing fertilizers. Optimizing the need for a key human resource while minimizing its negative consequences requires an integrated interdisciplinary approach and the development of strategies to decrease nitrogen-containing waste.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1760 4150, GRID grid.144022.1, , College of Agronomy, Northwest A&F University, ; Yangling, Shaanxi 712100 China
            [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1760 4150, GRID grid.144022.1, , Institute of Water Saving Agriculture in Arid Areas of China, Northwest A&F University, ; Yangling, Shaanxi 712100 China
            [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1760 4150, GRID grid.144022.1, , Key Laboratory of Crop Physi-ecology and Tillage Science in Northwestern Loess Plateau, Ministry of Agriculture, Northwest A&F University, ; Yangling, Shaanxi 712100 China
            Contributors
            zhikuan@tom.com
            rxlcxl@yahoo.com.cn
            Journal
            Sci Rep
            Sci Rep
            Scientific Reports
            Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
            2045-2322
            1 June 2017
            1 June 2017
            2017
            : 7
            28572666
            5454006
            2731
            10.1038/s41598-017-02731-y
            © The Author(s) 2017

            Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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