Water stress in maize production in the drylands of the Loess Plateau

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Zhu, W., Li, H.J., Qu, H.C., Wang, Y.L., Misselbrook, T., Li, X. and Jiang, R. 2018. Water stress in maize production in the drylands of the Loess Plateau. Vadose Zone Journal. 17 (1), p. 180117.

AuthorsZhu, W., Li, H.J., Qu, H.C., Wang, Y.L., Misselbrook, T., Li, X. and Jiang, R.
Abstract

Water stress during two maize (Zea mays L.) growing seasons (2013 and 2014) was investigated in a semiarid region of northwest China. The HYDRUS-1D model gave good simulation of the soil water content in different layers throughout a 0- to 200-cm depth during the maize growing season, with R-2 values of 70.6 and 77.0% for the calibration and validation periods, respectively. Water stress for maize production was observed in June of 2013 and in July of 2014. The soil water storage (SWS) decreased significantly during the early stage of the maize growing season, especially in 2014. The root depth and crop height were 20 cm deeper and 100 cm higher, respectively, in 2014 than in 2013 at the early stage. These results suggest that in the early stage of the maize growing season, pre-seeding SWS can alleviate crop water stress effectively via deep roots. Model simulation showed that the plow pan layer (at a depth of 20-40 cm), with high soil bulk density and a lower soil water retention curve, significantly reduced infiltration. High evapotranspiration and low precipitation result in a temporary dry layer during the early stage, highlighting the plow pan as the sensitive layer for water stress during the drought period. Effective management practices such as deep plowing, plastic film mulching, or water conservation treatments in the fallow period are needed to avoid the formation of this temporary dry layer during the drought period at the early stage and thus improve maize production in rainfed agriculture on the Loess Plateau of China.

Year of Publication2018
JournalVadose Zone Journal
Journal citation17 (1), p. 180117
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.2136/vzj2018.06.0117
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Funder project or codeUK - China Virtual Joint Centre for Improved Nitrogen Agronomy (CINAG)
FunderBBSRC Newton funding
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online20 Dec 2018
Publication process dates
Accepted13 Nov 2018
PublisherSOIL SCI SOC AMER
Copyright licenseCC BY-NC-ND
ISSN1539-1663

Permalink - https://repository.rothamsted.ac.uk/item/8w892/water-stress-in-maize-production-in-the-drylands-of-the-loess-plateau

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