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Response of Vertical Migration and Leaching of Nitrogen in Percolation Water of Paddy Fields under Water-Saving Irrigation and Straw Return Conditions

1
College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
2
Key Laboratory of Efficient Irrigation-Drainage and Agricultural Soil-Water Environment in Southern China of Ministry of Education, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
3
College of Agricultural Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(4), 868; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040868
Received: 1 April 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precision Agriculture and Irrigation)
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Abstract

The use of water-saving irrigation techniques has been encouraged in rice fields in response to irrigation water scarcity. Straw return is an important means of straw reuse. However, the environmental impact of this technology, e.g., nitrogen leaching loss, must be further explored. A two-year (2017–2018) experiment was conducted to investigate the vertical migration and leaching of nitrogen in paddy fields under water-saving and straw return conditions. Treatments included traditional flood irrigation (FI) and two water-saving irrigation regimes: rain-catching and controlled irrigation (RC-CI) and drought planting with straw mulching (DP-SM). RC-CI and DP-SM both significantly decreased the irrigation input compared with FI. RC-CI increased the rice yield by 8.23%~12.26%, while DP-SM decreased it by 8.98%~15.24% compared with FI. NH4+-N was the main form of the nitrogen leaching loss in percolation water, occupying 49.06%~50.97% of TN leaching losses. The NH4+-N and TN concentration showed a decreasing trend from top to bottom in soil water of 0~54 cm depth, while the concentration of NO3-N presented the opposite behavior. The TN and NH4+-N concentrations in percolation water of RC-CI during most of the rice growth stage were the highest among treatments in both years, and DP-SM showed a trend of decreasing TN and NH4+-N concentrations. The NO3-N concentrations in percolation water showed a regular pattern of DP-SM > RC-CI > FI during most of the rice growth stage. RC-CI and DP-SM remarkably reduced the amount of N leaching losses compared to FI as a result of the significant decrease of percolation water volumes. The tillering and jointing-booting stages were the two critical periods of N leaching (accounted for 74.85%~86.26% of N leaching losses). Great promotion potential of RC-CI and DP-SM exists in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, China, and DP-SM needs to be further optimized. View Full-Text
Keywords: rice; water-saving irrigation; straw; nitrogen; vertical migration; leach rice; water-saving irrigation; straw; nitrogen; vertical migration; leach
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Zheng, C.; Zhang, Z.; Wu, Y.; Mwiya, R. Response of Vertical Migration and Leaching of Nitrogen in Percolation Water of Paddy Fields under Water-Saving Irrigation and Straw Return Conditions. Water 2019, 11, 868.

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