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Optimization of tillage rotation and fertilization increases the soil organic carbon pools and crop yields in a wheat-maize cropping system on China's Loess Plateau
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  • Xia Zhang,
  • Sixu Lu,
  • Chenguang Wang,
  • Afeng Zhang,
  • Xudong Wang
Xia Zhang
Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University
Author Profile
Sixu Lu
Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University
Author Profile
Chenguang Wang
Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University
Author Profile
Afeng Zhang
Northwest A&F University
Author Profile
Xudong Wang
Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University
Author Profile

Abstract

Long-term application of high nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer and mono-tillage practices can adversely affect soil health, carbon sequestration and crop growth. A 10-year field experiment was conducted in a wheat-maize cropping system on the Loess Plateau in China to explore fertilization and tillage methods that improve SOC sequestration and crop yields. We evaluated the effects of (1) fertilization (balanced fertilization (BF), low fertilization (LF), and conventional fertilization (CF)) and (2) alternating years of different tillage (no-tillage and subsoiling (NS), subsoiling and ploughing (SP), ploughing and no-tillage (PN)) or continuous ploughing tillage (PP) on input-C, SOC pool, and crop yields. BF and rotational tillage (NS, SP, and PN) increased the amount and stabilization rate of input-C, thereby increased SOC storage, and the highest effect was found in BF+NS treatment. Simultaneously, BF produced higher contents of SOC, readily oxidizable carbon (ROC), particulate organic carbon (POC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and C pool management index (CMI) at 0-10 cm depth. For tillage, rotational tillage increased labile C contents and CMI at 0-10 cm, 20-35 cm and 35-50 cm depths, which improved soil quality. Crop yields showed an increase tendency with the increases of SOC content, labile C fraction contents, and CMI. Therefore, the higher yields of wheat and maize were found in BF and rotational tillage; the highest were in BF+NS treatment. Our finding suggested that NS combined with BF may be the best management to increase SOC storage, improve soil quality and productivity on China’s Loess Plateau.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

10 Sep 2020Submitted to Land Degradation & Development
11 Sep 2020Submission Checks Completed
11 Sep 2020Assigned to Editor
11 Sep 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
24 Oct 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
24 Oct 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
27 Nov 20201st Revision Received
27 Nov 2020Assigned to Editor
27 Nov 2020Submission Checks Completed
29 Nov 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Jan 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
29 Jan 20212nd Revision Received
29 Jan 2021Submission Checks Completed
29 Jan 2021Assigned to Editor
19 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
22 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
22 May 20213rd Revision Received
22 May 2021Submission Checks Completed
22 May 2021Assigned to Editor
19 Jul 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
28 Jul 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major