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Effects of Water-Saving Irrigation on Direct-Seeding Rice Yield and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in North China

Rice cultivation consumes more than half of the planet’s 70% freshwater supply used in agricultural production. Competing water uses and climate change globally are putting more pressure on the limited water resources. Therefore, water-saving irrigation (WSI) is recommended for rice production in water scares areas. The impact of WSI techniques on direct-seeding rice production and greenhouse gas emissions in North China is becoming increasingly important in the era of climate change. Therefore, we conducted a two-year field experiment on directly seeded rice to assess the impact of traditional flooding irrigation (CK) and three water saving irrigation (WSI) methods, including drip irrigation with an irrigation amount of 50 mm (DI1) and 35 mm (DI2) at each watering time and furrow wetting irrigation (FWI), on rice yield and greenhouse emissions. Generally, the WSI techniques decreased the number of rice panicles per m−2, spikelet per panicle, 1000-grain weight and rice yield compared to CK. Rice yield and yield components of (DI1) were significantly higher than (DI2). The adoption of either (DI1) or (FWI) showed insignificant variation in terms of rice yield and its yield components measured except for 1000-grain weight. The water productivity was 88.9, 16.4 and 11.4% higher in the FWI plot than the CK, DI1 and DI2 plots, respectively. The WSI decreased cumulative CH4 emission significantly by 73.0, 84.7 and 64.4% in DI1, DI2 and FWI, respectively, in comparison with CK. The usage of DI2 triggered 1.4 and 2.0-fold more cumulative N2O emission compared to DI1 and FWI, respectively. Area-scaled emission among the water-saving irrigation methods showed no significance. The yield-scaled emission in DI1 and DI2 and FWI were 101, 67.5 and 102%, respectively, significantly lower than CK. The adoption of FWI produced an acceptable rice yield with the lowest yield-scaled emission and highest water productivity among the irrigation practices. Our experiment demonstrates that dry direct-seeding with furrow irrigation can impact triple-wins of sustainable rice yield, high water-use efficiency and low GHG emissions in North China.

Publication date: 28/06/2022

Author: Xiaoning Hang

Reference: doi: 10.3390/agriculture12070937



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 1914.