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Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1905; doi:10.3390/su9101905

Exploring the Trends in Nitrogen Input and Nitrogen Use Efficiency for Agricultural Sustainability

National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, MOA Key Laboratory of Crop Ecophysiology and Farming System in the Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River, College of Plant Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
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Received: 21 July 2017 / Revised: 20 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Abstract

Crop production is threatened by the increased nitrogen (N) input and declining N use efficiency (NUE). Information on total N input from planted seeds/tubers, atmospheric deposition, irrigation water, crop residues, animal manure, biological N fixation, and synthetic N fertilizer and NUE based on these N inputs in China’s crop production is limited. We calculated the amount of various N inputs and NUE based on 117 primary crops from 1961 to 2012 in China. The total N input increased from 8.0 Mt in 1961 to 60.8 Mt in 2012. The substantial shift in the types of N input was observed from animal manure and biological N fixation toward synthetic N fertilizer. Animal manure plus biological N fixation and synthetic N fertilizer accounted for 70.9% and 6.8% of total N input in 1961, respectively, and these values were changed to 15.7% and 74.0% in 2012. Partial factor productivity of applied synthetic N and crop’s recovery efficiency of total N input declined substantially during the study period. These results suggest that it is essential to reduce synthetic N input and increase NUE with improved crop management practices and N-efficient crop varieties to achieve the sustainability of crop production in China. View Full-Text
Keywords: China; crop production; nitrogen input; nitrogen use efficiency; sustainability China; crop production; nitrogen input; nitrogen use efficiency; sustainability
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Yuan, S.; Peng, S. Exploring the Trends in Nitrogen Input and Nitrogen Use Efficiency for Agricultural Sustainability. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1905.

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