Long-term conservation tillage improves soil stoichiometry balance and crop productivity based on a 17-year experiment in a semi-arid area of northern China

Zhijie Ren, Xiaojie Han, Haoxiang Feng, Lifang Wang, Geng Ma, Junhong Li, Junjie Lv, Wenzhong Tian, Xinhua He, Yanan Zhao, Chenyang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although conservation tillage has been widely implemented to address the challenge to improve crop yield and soil quality with fewer environmental costs, its long-term effects on crop yields and soil stoichiometry balance remain uncertain. Here, four different long-term (17-year) tillage practices (conventional tillage (CT), deep scarification (DS), no tillage (NT), and ridge tillage (RT)) were conducted in northern China to evaluate their effects on crop yield, soil nutrients, C sequestration, and soil stoichiometry. The conservation tillage (DS, NT, and RT) increased the recent 5-year average yields by 12.2 %-20.1 % compared with CT, respectively. RT showed the highest C sequestration potential of 10.0 t/ha, followed by DS and NT (6.0 t/ha and 4.4 t/ha, respectively). The DS, NT, and RT enhanced soil available N and K with the best effect for NT, but DS reduced soil total and available P. The conservation tillage significantly increased the C:N, C:P, C:K, and N:P ratios, indicating it sustained soil balanced stoichiometry. Correlation analysis indicated crop yield was closely related to soil C:N, C:P, C:K, and N:P. The structural equation model revealed that the C, N, and P affected C:N and C:P ratios, thus improving crop yield under long-term conservation tillage. In summary, long-term conservation tillage improves soil stoichiometry balance and thus crop yields with great C sequestration potential to achieve sustainable agricultural management in rain-fed farmland.
Original languageEnglish
Article number168283
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume908
Early online date8 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2024

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