Wheat cropping systems and technologies in China
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Chinese wheat (Triticum aestivum) production has developed rapidly during the last 57 years, largely due to improved crop management technologies and new varieties. The history of wheat planting technologies in China was reviewed, and the physiological mechanisms that allow wheat to attain high yield under these planting systems were analyzed. The use of leaf number and stage of development to indicate the optimum timing for applications of fertilizers and irrigation water, and uniform seeding at reduced seeding rates to control lodging contributed significantly to the substantial progress in wheat productivity. However, flood irrigation and tillage-based practices also resulted in serious problems, including a decline in soil fertility and quality, environmental pollution, and inefficient use of water resources. The major future challenges facing wheat production are to improve water and nutrient use efficiency. Conservation agriculture-based resource conservation technologies such as zero or reduced tillage, flat or raised bed-planting systems, and rational management of crop residues to eliminate burning in the field are among the strategies we strongly recommend for improving agricultural environments and stabilizing/increasing wheat production in China. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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