Global Maize Project in China: Dahe, Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province

Project was initiated in 2009 from summer maize rotated with winter wheat to test how the performance of ecological intensification (EI) compares to that of current farmer practice (FP).


14 May 2018

2017 Annual Interpretive Summary

This long-term experiment was initiated in 2009 at the Dahe Experimental Station, Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, where summer maize followed by winter wheat is the main cropping system. The experiment had two main plots of ecological intensification (EI) and farmers’ practices (FP), and three subplots of nitrogen (N) application: N applied in all years (N all yr); N applied in two out of three years (N 2/3 yr): and no N applied in any years (N 0 yr).

The fertilizer applications for maize in the EI and FP treatments were 182-73-70 kg N-P2O5-K2O/ha and 225-120-50 kg/ha, respectively. The grain yield of maize in the EI treatment (8.5 t/ha) was not significantly different from FP treatment (8.8 t/ha). The agronomic efficiency (AE), partial factor of productivity (PFP), and recovery efficiency (RE) of N was 3.9 kg/kg, 46.0 kg/kg, and 41% in the EI treatment, respectively. The corresponding values for the FP treatment were 4.1 kg/kg, 39.2 kg/kg, and 27%.

The fertilizer rates applied to the following winter wheat were 182-107-86 kg N-P2O5-K2O/ha and 225-120-50 kg/ha, for EI and FP, respectively. Similar to summer maize, no significant difference in grain yield was observed between EI and FP. However, higher AE, PFP, and RE were also observed in the EI treatment (17.8 kg/kg, 46.5 kg/kg, and 82%, respectively) as compared to the FP treatment (14.8 kg/kg, 39.9 kg/kg, 67%, respectively). The results also showed that the EI treatment, with N applied in two out of three years, produced 8 t/ha and 8.3 t/ha of summer maize and winter wheat in 2017, respectively.

Results showed that N use efficiency was improved with optimized nutrient management in the EI treatment, without any obvious advantage in grain yield over the FP treatment.