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Surface Fertigation Practices for Smallholder Farmers in the North China Plain

  • 6 September, 2016
  • 6 May, 2024
  • Wageningen University, Water Resource Management
  • prof.dr.ir. P.J.G.J. Hellegers
  • dr.ir. H.P. Ritzemadr. J.C. van Dam

Irrigation and fertilisation are vital agricultural practices for increasing crop yields and thus for food security. The North China Plain (NCP), a heavily populated region in China, has been used to intensive irrigation and fertilisation practices to feed its population. In this area, agriculture takes up about 70% of the total water use; and fertiliser consumption is about 330 kg/ha. However, the irrigation water and nitrogen fertiliser are utilised with low efficiency due to the excessive irrigation and fertilisation practices in farmers’ fields. The improper irrigation and fertilisation practices have wasted the resource inputs and increased the non-point pollution.
Surface irrigation and broadcast fertilisation are widely used but poorly managed by smallholder farmers in the NCP, so it is easy and feasible to improve the current situation by modifying the existing system. Then surface fertigation seems to be the most viable method to improve the on-farm irrigation and fertilisation performance. Studies on surface fertigation had not been performed until the late 1980s, although farmers had used it for a long time. Therefore, research that can address farmers’ challenges of surface fertigation application is still required and the long-term environmental effect by using such practices. The present study aims to develop the applicable techniques of on-farm surface fertigation. Therefore, to improve the water and fertiliser using efficiency in farmers’ field, and decrease the nitrogen leaching impact on the agroecology system.

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Xiulu Sun

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