ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202102.0196.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: biochar; dryland; residue; nitrogen fertilizer; straw; wheat productivity
Online: 8 February 2021 (12:04:21 CET)
Water and nutrients shortage threatens agricultural sustainability in many arid and semiarid areas of the world. It is unknown whether improved water and nutrient conservation practices can be developed to alleviate this issue while increasing crop productivity. In this study, experimental work included the application of straw, biochar and N fertilizer. The straw and biochar were applied alone or combined with N fertilizer (0 and 100 kg N ha-1). Application of biochar and straw in combination with N fertilizer caused a reduction in mean soil temperature by an average of 20.05% and 18.10% relative to soils without carbon. Biochar and straw– amended soils significantly (P < 0.05) increased soil moisture content by 11.04% and 13.68% compared to no carbon treatments. Statistically comparable temperatures and moisture were recorded for both straw and biochar treated plots. Both biochar and straw treated soils produced the lowest bulk density (0–5 cm) at 1.15 g cm–3, and no carbon soils the highest at 1.20 g cm–3. The improved soil quality translated into higher biomass in the biochar (1906 kg ha–1) and biomass (1643 kg ha–1) and soils without carbon the lowest at 1553 kg ha–1. The improvement of soil moisture and the optimization of soil temperature for the two residue treated soils allow us to conclude that combined application of biochar and straw at the rate used in this study can be used as an effective farming model in alleviating water and nutrient shortage in semiarid environments.