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Effects of Biodegradable Film and Polyethylene Film Residues on Soil Moisture and Maize Productivity in Dryland

With the dramatic increased use of agricultural film, the potential environmental risks associated with it have been receiving widespread attention. Biodegradable film (BF) is considered an alternative to conventional polyethylene film (PF), but its feasibility to replace PF needs to be verified. Thus, we conducted a two-year field experiment in the Loess Plateau region of China, exploring the effects of residual biodegradable film and polyethylene film (RBF and RPF) on soil moisture, maize root, and productivity at different residual levels (75 kg ha−1, 150 kg ha−1 and 300 kg ha−1). Regardless of the residual film type, soil water content (SWC), root length density (RLD), and root surface area density (RSD) all decreased with increasing residual level; this phenomenon observed significant differences when the residual level exceeded 150 kg ha−1. Different organs (root and shoot) of maize differed in their sensitivity and sensitivity period to residual film. The two-year degradation rate of RBF was 59.24%, which was higher than that of RPF. Compared to the RPF treatments, the SWC, RLD, RSD, biomass, and root–shoot ratio of the RBF treatments were closer to the no residual film treatment in the second maize growing season. After the two-year experiment, compared to the grain yield, water use efficiency, and precipitation use efficiency of the RPF treatments, that of the RBF treatments increased 0.41–6.24%, 0.12–4.44%, and 0.41–06.24%. The application of BF to replace PF is beneficial to sustainable maize production in dryland, but finding efficient methods to recycle the residual film remains a priority.

Publication date: 29/01/2023

Author: Guixin Zhang

Reference: doi: 10.3390/agriculture13020332



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