Do reduced water and nitrogen input in rice production necessarily reduce yield?
Na Li 1
Jun Ma 1
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Crop Ecophysiology and Cultivation Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Rice Research Institute, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
College of Agronomy, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
Zhiyuan Yang   

Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China, Crop Ecophysiology and Cultivation Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Rice Research Institute, China
Final revision date: 2022-02-23
Acceptance date: 2022-02-24
Publication date: 2022-03-15
Int. Agrophys. 2022, 36(1): 47–58
  • 1. UN combined with CI can reduce water and N input and maintain stable yield
  • 2. CI + UN required 24.18–35.82% less irrigation than FI
  • 3. CI + UN treatment achieved a higher yield with 20% less N
  • 4. UN + CI promoted the growth of more and deeper roots
  • 5. UN + CI enhanced water and N use efficiency
This study explored the effects of water and nitrogen management on yields, as well as water and nitrogen use efficiency, in the production of rice (Oryza sativa L.). The study aimed to provide theoretical and technical support for high yield practices and efficient resource utilization. Three replicate split-plot experiments were conducted in the field using flooding irrigation and controlled irrigation as the primary treatments. The secondary treatments included no nitrogen application, the farmers’ usual nitrogen management, optimized nitrogen treatment, and uniform nitrogen application. Uniform nitrogen achieved the highest yield (11.91-14.12 103 kg ha-1) with controlled irrigation, in which case 20% less nitrogen is applied than in the case of optimized nitrogen treatment and farmers’ usual nitrogen management. Controlled irrigation + uniform nitrogen required 24.18-35.82% less irrigation than flooding irrigation. Controlled irrigation + uniform nitrogen yielded the lowest reduction (18.52-20.00%) in the dry weight of deep roots (20-30 cm) within 30 days after heading. Comparatively, this reduction was 27.54-30.26 and 38.71-42.11% under controlled irrigation + optimized nitrogen treatment and controlled irrigation + farmers’ usual nitrogen management, respectively. At the heading stage, light interception was highest under uniform nitrogen. Nitrogen recovery efficiency under uniform nitrogen was 8.53-17.88 and 46.77-60.79% higher than that under optimized nitrogen treatment and farmers’ usual nitrogen management, respectively. Furthermore, nitrogen use efficiency under uniform nitrogen was 19.84-29.70 and 76.16-94.44% higher than that under optimized nitrogen treatment and farmers’ usual nitrogen management, respectively, low-intensity/high-frequency nitrogen application combined with water-saving irrigation can greatly reduce water and nitrogen input while maintaining a stable yield to achieve food security and efficient resource utilization in rice production.
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