Ridge and furrow systems with film cover increase maize yields and mitigate climate risks of cold and drought stress in continental climates

Wanlin Dong, Lizhen Zhang*, Yu Duan, Li Sun, Peiyi Zhao, Wopke van der Werf, Jochem B. Evers, Qi Wang, Ruonan Wang, Zhigang Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ridge-furrow tillage and plastic film cover are widely applied in China to mitigate climate risks, e.g. cool temperature and low rainfall. This study aimed to quantify the effects of ridge-furrow tillage and film cover on maize growth and yield in an environment with frequent seasonal drought and cold spells. Field experiments were carried out in 2013 and 2014 in Jilin and Inner Mongolia, northeast China. Maize yield without film cover increased 15% by ridging, and further increases of 9% or 16% were achieved by applying 58% or 100% film cover, respectively. Maize growth rate was significantly enhanced by both partial and full film cover, but not significantly increased by ridging alone. The time reached to the maximum growth rate was significantly advanced. The growing duration of maize was significantly shortened by film cover while ridging did not affect. The increase of maize yield by ridge and film cover was associated with significant increases in kernel number per ear, kernel weight and harvest index. Harvest index of maize increased with 11% by ridge-furrow tillage and with a further 15–17% by film cover. We conclude that maize with ridge and film cover increases crop yield by enhancing crop growth and development and could also reduce risks of crop failure due to drought or cold spells. The results could help optimize maize management in arid continental regions where yields are constrained by drought and a short growing season due to low temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-78
JournalField Crops Research
Volume207
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Growth
  • Instantaneous growth rate
  • Phenology
  • Yield components

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