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Title: Effect of precipitation change on water balance and WUE of the winter wheat-summer maize rotation in the North China Plain

item SUN, HONGYANG - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item YANJUN, SHEN - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item QIANG, YU - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item Flerchinger, Gerald
item YONGQIANG, ZHANG - Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
item CHANGMING, LIU - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item XIYING, ZHANG - Chinese Academy Of Sciences

Submitted to: Agricultural Water Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/25/2009
Publication Date: 6/15/2010
Citation: Sun, H., Y. Shen, Q. Yu, G. Flerchinger, Y. Zhang, C. Liu, X. Zhang. 2010. Effect of Precipitation Change on Water Balance and WUE of the Winter Wheat ––Summer Maize Rotation in the North China Plain. Agricultural Water Management, 97(8):1139-1145.

Interpretive Summary: The North China Plain (NCP) is the largest region of agricultural importance in China, however, the sustainability of the dual cropping system of wheat-maize rotation within NCP is facing great risk from shrinking availability of water resources. Field experiments and long-term precipitation records from the Luancheng Station indicated that the continuously declining groundwater levels in NCP are mainly caused by agricultural water use during the wheat season as opposed to the maize season. Optimal irrigation amounts were proposed for the wheat and maize seasons for dry, normal and wet precipitation years. It is suggested that adjustment of the cropping system, such as reducing winter wheat cropping area which has a higher irrigation water requirement, is perhaps a useful path for sustainable agricultural development and reducing the regional and seasonal water scarcity problem.

Technical Abstract: Limited precipitation restricts crops yield in the North China Plain, where high levels of production depend largely on irrigation. Establishing the optimal irrigation scheduling according to the crop water requirements (CWR) and precipitation is the key factor to achieve rational water use. Precipitation data collected for about 40 years were employed to analyze the long-term trend, weather data from 1984 to 2005 were used to estimate the CWR and irrigation water requirements (IWR). Field experiments were performed at the Luancheng Station from 1996 to 2005 to calculate the soil water consumption and water use efficiency (WUE). The results showed the CWR for winter wheat and summer maize were similar, while the IWR for winter wheat was higher than that of summer maize for the different precipitation. The irrigation applied varied in the different rainfall years and the optimal irrigation amount was about 186, 161 and 99 mm for winter wheat and 134, 88 and 0 mm for summer maize in the dry, normal and wet seasons, respectively. However, the trend of precipitation was reducing over time especially during the maize growing periods. Therefore, development of water-saving management practices for sustainable agricultural into the future is imperative.