Film mulching combined with cow manure increases soil C and N

Lixia Zhu, Jutian Chen, Yufang Shen, Shiqing Li


Aim of study: A field study was conducted to assess responses of soil organic C (SOC) and total N (TN) to film mulching and manure, which were important in identifying the changes of SOC and TN.

Area of study: A semiarid area in northwestern China.

Material and methods: The field (soil classified as CumuliUstic Isohumosol) has been planted with spring maize (Zea mays L.) for years. Three treatments were: 1) NPK fertilization and no film mulching (CK), 2) NPK fertilization and film mulching (PF) and 3) film mulching and NPK fertilization combined with cow manure (OMF).

Main results: Compared with CK, OMF significantly increased SOC and TN, while no significant effect was observed under PF. The average increases of SOC storage in OMF were 39.2% in 0-10 cm layer and 34.3% in 10-20 cm layer. The average increases of TN storage were 37.6% in 0-10 cm layer and 31.3% in 10-20 cm layer, relative to CK. Compared with the initial SOC (8.86 g/kg) and TN (0.99 g/kg), CK and PF decreased 1.4% and 6.9% of SOC, and 9.1% and 17.2% of TN, whereas OMF increased SOC and TN. The SOC/TN was not affected by treatments but slight increase was observed since the beginning of experiment. Both PF and OMF significantly increased maize grain yields (on average 45.8% and 75.7%, respectively) compared with CK.

Research highlights: Manure combined with film mulching significantly increased soil C and N, ameliorating harmful effects of plastic film mulching, improving soil fertility in the long term and increasing crop yields.


soil organic C; total N; agricultural practices; maize yield

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2019173-14387