Mulching-Induced Changes in Tuber Yield and Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Potato in China: A Meta-Analysis
Gansu Provincial Key Laboratory of Aridland Crop Science, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
College of Agronomy, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA
CSIRO Agriculture & Food, Private Bag No. 5, Wembley, WA 6913, Australia
The UWA Institute of Agriculture, School of Agriculture and Environment, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA 6001, Australia
College of Resources and Environment Science, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
International Crop Research Institute for Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru 502324, India
College of Forestry, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002, China
State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, Shaanxi, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(12), 793; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9120793
Received: 20 October 2019 / Revised: 19 November 2019 / Accepted: 20 November 2019 / Published: 22 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Fertility Management for Better Crop Production)
In dry environments, potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is grown under mulching for water conservation and improving tuber yield and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). A meta-analysis was conducted to determine how mulching improved tuber yield and NUE in potato and how yield and NUE is influenced by fertilization, tillage practices, and growing environment in China. A search of peer-reviewed publications was performed to collect data on the effects of mulching on yield and NUE in potato grown in China. The data included were from field studies with a mulching and a no mulching treatment and data on tuber yield and NUE. A total of 169 publications (17 in English and 152 in Chinese) containing 1802 observations from 105 sites were compiled into the dataset. Mulching significantly increased both tuber yield and NUE by an average of 24% compared to no mulching, respectively. Plastic film mulching was more effective in improving yield and NUE than straw mulching. The yield and NUE increase were highest under plastic film mulching on ridge-furrow plots and straw mulching on flat plots. Mulching was more effective at improving yield and NUE in the Northwest dryland region at a plant density between 55,000 and 70,000 plants ha−1 and with application of synthetic N and P2O5 at rates of 100−200 kg ha−1, K fertilization at 0−100 kg K2O ha−1, and without organic fertilization. Integrated use of organic fertilizer and mulching was found to reduce synthetic N and P fertilizer input by 50% and K fertilizer input by 100% for production without affecting yield and NUE. These results demonstrate that mulching increases yield and NUE in potato in China, but the benefits occur when the growing region, tillage, and fertilization practices are appropriately considered.