Effects of biochar on soil water and temperature, nutrients, and yield of maize/soybean and maize/peanut intercropping systems
Ce Luan 1,2
Wei He 2
Xu Su 1
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College of Water Resource, Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang 110866, China
College of Hydraulic Engineering, Liaoning Vocational College of Ecological Engineering, Shenyang 110866, China
Yikui Bai   

College of Water Resource, Shenyang Agricultural University, China
Final revision date: 2021-11-13
Acceptance date: 2021-11-22
Publication date: 2021-12-30
Int. Agrophys. 2021, 35(4): 365–373
  •  From the early growth stage to middle and late growth stages, the effect of biochar on soil mineral nitrogen content was transformed from adsorption to release.
  •  The soil mineral nitrogen content of soybean and peanut ridges was significantly higher than that of corn ridges.
  •  The total yield increased by 11.8%–13.8% relative to the treatment without biochar.
A two-year field experiment was conducted to evaluate the ability of biochar to improve the soil environment of intercropping systems. There were two planting systems (maize/soybean, maize/peanut intercropping) coupled with three biochar application rates (0, 15, and 30 t ha–1). Changes in the soil water content, soil bulk density, temperature, soil nutrients and yield were recorded. Under the influence of rainfall, biochar significantly increased soil water storage at the 0-30 cm soil layer. The maximum increment of soil water storage was 15.5% with the maize/peanut intercropping at 15 t ha–1 treatment at the tassel stage. Both biochar treatments significantly increased the soil effective accumulated temperature at the seedling stage and jointing stage. The greatest increment in soil effective accumulated temperature was achieved using the maize/peanut intercropping at 15 t ha–1 treatment. The effects of biochar on soil effective accumulated temperature were weakened at the tasselling, grain filling and mature stages. After biochar application, the soil mineral nitrogen content was significantly reduced at the seeding stage, but significantly increased by 25.2-48.9% at the tasselling and grain filling stages. The soil ammonium and nitrate nitrogen content of the soybean and peanut ridges was significantly higher than those of the corn ridges. The total yield of maize/soybean increased by 12.8-13.7% and the total yield of maize/peanut intercropping increased by 15.9-18.0% relative to the treatment without biochar. Therefore, both 15 t ha–1 and 30 t ha–1 effectively regulated the soil water, nutrient and temperature at the jointing, tasselling and grain filling stages, which enhanced the positive effects of intercropping on crop yield. From an analysis of the yield results, it was found that biochar may be more significant in the maize/peanut intercropping system.
This work was supported by the Key R&D Programme of Liaoning under Grant 2018103007; the Liaoning Natural Science Fund under Grant 2019-ZD-0705 (2019-2021).
The authors do not declare any conflict of interest
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