Film-mulched Ridge-Furrow management increases maize productivity and sustains soil organic carbon in a dryland cropping system

X.E. Liu, X. Li., L. Hai, Y. Wang, T. Fu, Neil Turner, F. Li

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    57 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Alleviating the hydrothermal limitations to growth, clear film fully mulched ridge-furrow (FMRF) cropping significantly improves maize (Zea mays L.) grain yield on the Loess Plateau of China. Major concerns for FMRF cropping are the stability of maize productivity and whether the system is detrimental to the soil organic C (SOC) balance under changed hydrothermal conditions. We investigated the effects of maize production with FMRF and its effect on SOC concentration for five consecutive years from 2008 to 2012. Three treatments were imposed: no mulch (narrow ridges with the crop sown beside the ridges), half mulch (the same as no mulch, except the narrow ridges were mulched), and full mulch (i.e., FMRF; alternate narrow and wide ridges, all mulched, with maize in furrows). The 5-yr average of the grain yield was 3.8 Mg ha -1 under no mulch. Half and full mulch increased the grain yield by 68 and 102%, respectively, relative to no mulch. Root biomass was 69 and 104% greater under half and full mulch, respectively, than no mulch. The maize yield and biomass differed among years depending on the growingseason precipitation and its distribution, but the increased yield and biomass from mulching was consistent in all years. The mulch stimulated SOC mineralization and enzymatic activity but had no effect on light (density
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1434-1441
    JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
    Volume78
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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