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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 69 No. 3, p. 842-855
    Received: Apr 28, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): Fantl@hotmail.com
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Long-Term Fertilizer and Water Availability Effects on Cereal Yield and Soil Chemical Properties in Northwest China

  1. Tinglu Fan *a,
  2. B. A. Stewartb,
  3. William A. Paynec,
  4. Wang Yonga,
  5. Junjie Luoa and
  6. Yufeng Gaoa
  1. a Dryland Agricultural Institute, Gansu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou 730070, Gansu, P.R. China
    b Dryland Agriculture Institute, West Texas A&M Univ., Canyon, TX 79016
    c Texas Agriculture Experimental Station, Texas A&M Univ., Bushland, TX 79012


Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and corn (Zea mays L.) rotation is important for the region's food security in Northwest China. Grain yield and water-use efficiency (WUE: grain yield/estimated evapotranspiration [ET]) trends, and changes in soil properties during a 24-yr rainfed fertilization experiment in Pingliang, Gansu, China, were recorded. Mean wheat yields for the 16 yr ranged from 1.29 Mg ha−1 for the unfertilized plots (CK) to 4.71 Mg ha−1 for the plots that received manure (M) annually with inorganic N and P fertilizers (MNP). Corn yields for the 6 yr averaged 2.29 and 5.61 Mg ha−1 in the same treatments. Yields and WUEs declined with years except for the CK and MNP treatments for wheat. Wheat yields for the N and M treatments declined about 80 kg ha−1 yr−1, compared with about 60 kg ha−1 yr−1 for the NP treatment and the N plus straw treatment receiving P every second year (SNP). Likewise, the corn yields and WUEs declined significantly for all treatments. Grain yield-ET relationships were linear with slopes ranging from 0.51 to 1.27 kg ha−1 m−3 for wheat and 1.15 to 2.03 kg ha−1m−3 for corn. Soil organic C (SOC), total N (TN), and total P (TP) gradually increased with time except the CK, in which TN and TP remained unchanged but SOC and available P (AP) decreased. Soil AP decreased in the N treatment. Soil available K declined rapidly without straw or manure additions. The greatest SOC increases of about 160 mg kg−1 yr−1 occurred in SNP and MNP treated soils, suggesting that long-term additions of organic materials could increase water-holding capacity that, in return, improves water availability to plants and arrests grain yield declines, and sustains productivity.

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