Identifying the limiting factors driving the winter wheat yield gap on smallholder farms by agronomic diagnosis in North China Plain
CAO Hong-zhu1, LI Ya-nan1, CHEN Guang-feng2, 3, CHEN Dong-dong1, QU Hong-rui1, MA Wen-qi1?
1 College of Resources and Environmental Science, Hebei Agricultural University, Baoding 071000, P.R.China 2 College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, P.R.China 3 National Agricultural Technology Extension and Service Center, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Beijing 100125, P.R.China
Abstract?North China Plain (NCP) is the primary winter wheat production region in China, characterized by smallholder farming systems.? Whereas the winter wheat average yield of smallholder farmers is currently low, the yield potential and limiting factors driving the current yield gap remain unclear.? Therefore, increasing the wheat yield in NCP is essential for the national food security.? This study monitored wheat yield, management practices and soil nutrient data in 132 farmers’ fields of Xushui County, Baoding City, Hebei Province during 2014–2016.? These data were analyzed using variance and path analysis to determine the yield gap and the contribution of yield components (i.e., spikes per hectare, grain number per spike and 1 000-grain weight) to wheat yield.? Then, the limiting factors of yield components and the optimizing strategies were identified by a boundary line approach.? The results showed that the attainable potential yield for winter wheat was 10 514 kg ha–1.? The yield gaps varied strongly between three yield groups (i.e., high, middle and low), which were divided by yield level and contained 44 farmers in each group, and amounted to 2 493, 1 636 and 814 kg ha–1, respectively.? For the three yield components, only spikes per hectare was significantly different (P<0.01) among the three yield groups.? For all 132 farmers’ fields, correlation between yield and spikes per hectare (r=0.51, P<0.01), was significantly positive, while correlations with grain number per spike (r=–0.16) and 1 000-grain weight (r=–0.10) were not significant.? The path analysis also showed that the spikes per hectare of winter wheat were the most important component to the wheat yield.? Boundary line analysis showed that seeding date was the most limiting factor of spikes per hectare with the highest contribution rate (26.7%), followed by basal N input (22.1%) and seeding rate (14.5%), which indicated that management factors in the seeding step were the most important for affecting spikes per hectare.? For desired spikes per hectare (>6.598×106 ha–1), the seeding rate should range from 210–300 kg ha–1, seeding date should range from 3th to 8th October, and basal N input should range from 90–180 kg ha–1.? Compared to these reasonable ranges of management measures, most of the farmers’ practices were not suitable, and both lower and higher levels of management existed.? It is concluded that the strategies for optimizing yield components could be achieved by improving wheat seeding quality and optimizing farmers’ nutrient management practices in the NCP.
Fund: This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2015CB150405), and the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest, China (201103003).?
Corresponding Authors: Correspondence MA Wen-qi, Tel: +86-312-7528220, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org???
About author: CAO Hong-zhu, Mobile: +86-15231208163, E-mail: email@example.com;
Cite this article: ??
CAO Hong-zhu, LI Ya-nan, CHEN Guang-feng, CHEN Dong-dong, QU Hong-rui1, MA Wen-qi . 2019. Identifying the limiting factors driving the winter wheat yield gap on smallholder farms by agronomic diagnosis in North China Plain. Journal of Integrative Agriculture,
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