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Plastic film mulch for half growing-season maximized WUE and yield of potato via moisture-temperature improvement in a semi-arid agroecosystem

  • Zhao, Hong
  • Xiong, You-Cai
  • Li, Feng-Min
  • Wang, Run-Yuan
  • Qiang, Sheng-Cai
  • Yao, Tao-Feng
  • Mo, Fei
Registered author(s):

    Effects of plastic mulching in ridges and furrows for varying durations on yield and water use efficiency (WUE) in potato were investigated in rainfed areas of north-western China in 2009 and 2010. The experiment comprised four mulched treatments (M50, M65, M80/85, and Mw – indicating plastic film mulch for 50, 65, and 80/85 d after sowing, and whole growth season, respectively – after which mulch in furrows was removed) and a non-mulched control. The results showed that film mulching warmed topsoil and increased topsoil water content. The daily mean topsoil temperature in mulched plots was 2.5–3.2°C higher than that in controls during the early growing season (sowing–emergence), the difference became less as the plant canopy grew; on some days later in the season, the difference was even negative (i.e. the topsoil temperature in mulched was lower than in control plots). Seedlings under mulching emerged 8.1–11.7 d earlier than those in controls due to the increased topsoil temperature and moisture in the early season. Mulching also prolonged the duration from seedling to maturity by 0.7–15.0 d and significantly increased plant height, leaf area index, and dry matter. Compared to non-mulched plots, yields in mulched plots increased by 33.9–92.5% and 62.9–77.8% in 2009 and 2010, respectively, and corresponding WUEs improved by 41.4–112.6% and 45.9–70.6%. Both tuber yield and WUE were highest in M65. The data indicate that mulching for about 65 d after sowing was ideal to optimize soil moisture and soil temperature and in turn to improve potato productivity and WUE in this semi-arid rainfed region.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378377411003210
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Agricultural Water Management.

    Volume (Year): 104 (2012)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 68-78

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:104:y:2012:i:c:p:68-78
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/agwat

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    1. Wang, Xiao-Ling & Li, Feng-Min & Jia, Yu & Shi, Wen-Quan, 2005. "Increasing potato yields with additional water and increased soil temperature," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 181-194, December.
    2. Chakraborty, Debashis & Nagarajan, Shantha & Aggarwal, Pramila & Gupta, V.K. & Tomar, R.K. & Garg, R.N. & Sahoo, R.N. & Sarkar, A. & Chopra, U.K. & Sarma, K.S. Sundara & Kalra, N., 2008. "Effect of mulching on soil and plant water status, and the growth and yield of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in a semi-arid environment," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 95(12), pages 1323-1334, December.
    3. Romic, D. & Romic, M. & Borosic, J. & Poljak, M., 2003. "Mulching decreases nitrate leaching in bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) cultivation," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 87-97, May.
    4. Xie, Zhong-kui & Wang, Ya-jun & Li, Feng-min, 2005. "Effect of plastic mulching on soil water use and spring wheat yield in arid region of northwest China," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 71-83, July.
    5. Kar, Gouranga & Kumar, Ashwani, 2007. "Effects of irrigation and straw mulch on water use and tuber yield of potato in eastern India," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-3), pages 109-116, December.
    6. Tiwari, K. N. & Singh, Ajai & Mal, P. K., 2003. "Effect of drip irrigation on yield of cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata) under mulch and non-mulch conditions," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 19-28, January.
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