ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202204.0111.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: Soil bulk density; Water consumption; Rotary tillage; Photosynthetic rate; Field capacity
Online: 12 April 2022 (10:41:57 CEST)
Rotary tillage is a main management tillage practices and widely applied in the North China Plain. However, the long term rotary tillage (depth of 20 cm) results in soil compaction and plow pan formation, which reduces water use efficiency and nutrient uptake, and then impedes the yield increase. In this study, a 3-year field experiment was conducted to investigate the influence of different depths of tillage on soil bulk density, field capacity, water use, photosynthetic rate, nutrients and maize yields in the North China Plain. Three depths of tillage (D20, depth of 20 cm; D25, depth of 25 cm; D30, depth of 30 cm) were assessed. D25 and D30 significantly reduced soil bulk density and improved field capacity in 10-20 and 20-30 cm soil layer, compared to D20. Soil water consumption for D25 was significantly higher 10.12% and 6.61% than that for D20 and D30, respectively. Photosynthetic rate for D25 significantly improved than that for D20 and D30. Total nitrogen in 0-20cm soil layer decreased with the depths of tillage. The maize yields for D25 significantly increased by 20.92% and 21.56% compared to that for D20 and D30, respectively. Structural equation models showed that the total effects of tillage, total nitrogen, photosynthesis and soil water consumption on yields were 0.019, -0.628, 0.121, and 0.895 (path coefficients λ), respectively. The results demonstrated that D25 could improve maize yields, water use efficiency, photosynthetic rate by improving soil water consumption. Depth of 25 cm is optimal tillage practice for the maize production in the North China Plain.