Effect of irrigation method and N-fertilizer management on rice yield, water productivity and nutrient-use efficiencies in typical lowland rice conditions in China uri icon

abstract

  • Alternate wetting and drying irrigation (AWD) has been reported to save water compared with continuous flooding (CF) in rice cultivation. However, the reported effects on yield varied greatly and detailed agro-hydrological characterization is often lacking so that generalizations are difficult to make. Furthermore, it is not known how AWD modifies nutrient use efficiencies and if it requires different N-fertilizer management compared with CF. This study quantified the agro-hydrological conditions of the commonly practiced AWD and compared the impact of AWD and CF irrigations at different N-fertilizer management regimes on rice growth and yield, water productivity, and fertilizer-use efficiencies in five crop seasons in 1999 and 2000 at two typical lowland rice sites in China (Jinhua, Zheijang Province and Tuanlin, Hubei Province), with shallow groundwater tables.
  • Grain yields varied from 3.2 to 4.5 t ha(-1) with 0 kg N ha(-1) to 5.3-8.9 t ha(-1) with farmers' N-rates (150 kg N ha(-1) in Jinhua and 180 in Tuanlin). In both sites, no significant water by nitrogen interaction on grain yields, biomass, water productivity, nutrient uptakes and N-use efficiency were observed. Yield and biomass did not significantly differ (P >0.05) between AWD and CF and among N timings. The productivity of irrigation water in AWD was about 5-35% higher than in CF, but differences were significant (P <0.05) only when the rainfall was low and evaporation was high. Increasing the number of splits to 4-6 times increase the total N uptake, but not total P-uptake, and total K-uptake compared with farmers' practices of two splits. Apparent Nitrogen recovery (ANR) increased as the number of splits increased, but there was no significant difference in ANR between AWD and CF. During the drying cycles of AWD irrigation, the perched water table depths seldom went deeper than - 20 cm and the soil in the root zone remained moist most of the time. The results suggest that in typical irrigated lowlands in China, AWD can reduce water input without affecting rice yields and does not require N-fertilizer management differently from continuous flooding. The results can be applied to many other irrigated lowland rice areas in Asia which have a shallow groundwater table.

publication date

  • 2004
  • 2004
  • 2004