Water Use Effectiveness Is Enhanced Using Film Mulch Through Increasing Transpiration and Decreasing Evapotranspiration
Center for Agricultural Water Research in China, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China
Wuwei Experimental Station for Efficient Water Use in Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Wuwei 733000, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(6), 1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061153
Received: 19 April 2019 / Revised: 5 May 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 1 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water Use and Scarcity)
Water shortage is a main limitation of crop growth and yield in drought northwest China, which is an important area of seed maize growth. Plastic film mulch is widely adopted to reduce soil evaporation (E) and conserve water resources, which changes evapotranspiration (ET) and its components, E and transpiration (Tr) and crop growth. The AquaCrop model, one of widely used crop models powered by water, can well simulate crop ET components and growth. However, there are few studies that examine ET partitioning and growth with and without plastic film mulch. The calibrated AquaCrop model was used to partition ET and simulate growth of seed maize with and without plastic film mulch in a drought region of northwest China in 2014 and 2015. The AquaCrop model can well simulate canopy cover curve (CC), and the dynamic and accumulated courses of ET and ET components. Plastic film mulch could advance the growth stage of seed maize and reduce seasoned ET. The initial stage with plastic film mulch was 37–42 days, while it was 46–48 days for no-mulch. Plastic film mulch increased Tr by 14.16% and 14.48% and significantly decreased E by 57.25% and 34.28% in 2014 and 2015, respectively, resulting in the reduction of seasonal total ET. Plastic film mulch increased averaged mid-season crop coefficient for transpiration (Kc Tr) by 0.88% and decreased soil evaporation coefficient (Ke) by 62.50%. Collectively, the results suggest that, in comparison with no-mulch, plastic film mulch advanced crop growth, and decreased total ET and increased Tr related with crop production, i.e., improve water use effectiveness.