AMBIO

, Volume 39, Issue 5–6, pp 376–384 | Cite as

Current Nitrogen Management Status and Measures to Improve the Intensive Wheat–Maize System in China

Report

Abstract

During the first 35 years of the Green Revolution, Chinese grain production doubled, greatly reducing food shortage, but at a high environmental cost. In 2005, China alone accounted for around 38% of the global N fertilizer consumption, but the average on-farm N recovery efficiency for the intensive wheat–maize system was only 16–18%. Current on-farm N use efficiency (NUE) is much lower than in research trials or on-farm in other parts of the world, which is attributed to the overuse of chemical N fertilizer, ignorance of the contribution of N from the environment and the soil, poor synchrony between crop N demand and N supply, failure to bring crop yield potential into full play, and an inability to effectively inhibit N losses. Based on such analyses, some measures to drastically improve NUE in China are suggested, such as managing various N sources to limit the total applied N, spatially and temporally matching rhizospheric N supply with N demand in high-yielding crops, reducing N losses, and simultaneously achieving high-yield and high NUE. Maximizing crop yields using a minimum of N inputs requires an integrated, interdisciplinary cooperation and major scientific and practical breakthroughs involving plant nutrition, soil science, agronomy, and breeding.

Keywords

Nitrogen management Nitrogen use efficiency Environment Crop yield China 

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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Nutrition, College of Resource and Environmental SciencesChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina

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