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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Comparative effects of crop residue incorporation and inorganic potassium fertilisation on apparent potassium balance and soil potassium pools under a wheat–cotton system

Ning Sui A B , Chaoran Yu A , Guanglei Song A , Fan Zhang A , Ruixian Liu C , Changqin Yang C , Yali Meng A D and Zhiguo Zhou A D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Key Laboratory of Crop Physiology & Ecology, Ministry of Agriculture, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China.

B Ministry of Pharmaceutical Science, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310053, China.

C Institute of Industrial Crops, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Nanjing 210014, China.

D Corresponding authors. Email: mengyl@njau.edu.cn; giscott@njau.edu.cn

Soil Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/SR16200
Submitted: 29 July 2016  Accepted: 16 May 2017   Published online: 16 June 2017

Abstract

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of consecutive crop residue incorporation and potassium (K) fertilisation on plant–soil K balance, K forms, K release and K fixation capacity under wheat–cotton rotation at Nanjing and Dafeng in China. Six treatments were evaluated: control (without K input), wheat straw at 0.9 t ha–1, cotton residue at 0.7 t ha–1, wheat straw and cotton residue at the aforementioned rates, and 150 and 300 kg ha–1 fertiliser K. Treatments in each rotation year had an identical rate of nitrogen and phosphate fertiliser application. The initial soil K content was higher in Dafeng than Nanjing. In the low K content soil of Nanjing, crop K uptake with double crop straw was significantly higher than that under single crop straw return or inorganic fertiliser, and K uptake increased with increasing K inputs. Only double crop straw or 300 kg ha–1 fertiliser K treatments reached apparent K balance in Nanjing, but not in Dafeng. The high negative K balance resulted from the elevated K removal by crops in Dafeng. Incorporation of double crop residues favoured accumulation of different forms of K. Application of K fertiliser tended to increase soil water-soluble K, and crop residue incorporation greatly improved non-exchangeable K at a depth of 0–20 cm. Similar to K fertiliser, crop residue incorporation significantly increased soil K release and decreased K fixation at both sites. In summary, in a 3-year field experiment, crop residue incorporation and inorganic K fertilisation had similar effects on soil K pools and balance depending on initial soil K level and actual K input.

Additional keywords: consecutive crop residue incorporation, soil potassium fertility, soil potassium forms, soil potassium release and potassium fixation capacity.


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