Please wait a minute...
Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2020, Vol. 19 Issue (5): 1215-1226    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(19)62679-1
Special Issue: 麦类耕作栽培合辑Triticeae Crops Physiology · Biochemistry · Cultivation · Tillage
Crop Science Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Improved soil characteristics in the deeper plough layer can increase grain yield of winter wheat
CHEN Jin1, 3*, PANG Dang-wei1, 3*, JIN Min2, 3*, LUO Yong-li1, 3, LI Hao-yu2, 3, LI Yong2, 3, WANG Zhen-lin2, 3 
1 College of Life Sciences, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai’an 271018, P.R.China
2 College of Agronomy, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai’an 271018, P.R.China
3 State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai’an 271018, P.R.China
Download:  PDF in ScienceDirect  
Export:  BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      
In the North China Plain (NCP), soil deterioration threatens winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production.  Although rotary tillage or plowing tillage are two methods commonly used in this region, research characterizing the effects of mixed tillage on soil characteristics and wheat yield has been limited.  A fixed-site field trial was carried out during 2011–2016 to examine the impacts of three tillage practices (5-year rotary tillage with maize straw removal (RT); 5-year rotary tillage with maize straw return (RS); and annual RS and with a deep plowing interval of 2 years (RS/DS)) on soil characteristics and root distribution in the plough layer.  Straw return significantly decreased soil bulk density, increased soil organic carbon (SOC) storage and SOC content, macro-aggregate proportion (R0.25) and its stability in the plough layer.  The RS/DS treatment significantly increased the SOC content, total nitrogen (TN), and root length density (RLD) in the 10–40 cm layer, and enhanced the proportion of RLD in the 20–30 and 30–40 cm layers.  In the 20–30 and 30–40 cm layers, an increase in SOC and TN could lead to higher grain production than commensurate increases in the surface layer, resulting in a sustainable increase in grain yield from the RS/DS treatment.  Thus, the RS/DS treatment could lead to high productivity of winter wheat by improving soil characteristics and root distribution at the deeper plough layer in the NCP.
Keywords:  soil characteristics        root length density        tillage practice        straw return        winter wheat  
Received: 21 January 2019   Accepted: 25 March 2020
Fund: The research was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program; 2015CB150404), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFD0301001 and 2016YFD0300403), and the Shandong Province Mount Tai Industrial Talents Program, China.
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence LI Yong, E-mail:; WANG Zhen-lin, E-mail:   
About author:  * These authors contributed equally to this study.

Cite this article: 

CHEN Jin, PANG Dang-wei, JIN Min, LUO Yong-li, LI Hao-yu, LI Yong, WANG Zhen-lin. 2020.

Improved soil characteristics in the deeper plough layer can increase grain yield of winter wheat
. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 19(5): 1215-1226.

Bengough A G, McKenzie B M, Hallett P D, Valentine T A. 2011. Root elongation water stress, and mechanical impedance: A review of limiting stresses and beneficial root tip traits. Journal of Experimental Botany, 62, 59–68.
Benjamin J G, Nielsen D C. 2006. Water deficit effects on root distribution of soybean: Field pea and chickpea. Field Crops Research, 97, 248–253.
Chen J, Zheng M J, Pang D W, Yin Y P, Han M M, Li Y X, Luo Y L, Xu X, Li Y, Wang Z L. 2017. Straw return and appropriate tillage method improve grain yield and nitrogen efficiency of winter wheat. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 16, 1708–1719.
Chen X P, Cui Z L, Fan M S, Vitousek P, Zhao M, Ma W Q, Wang Z L, Zhang W J, Yan X Y, Yang J C, Deng X P, Gao Q, Zhang Q, Guo S W, Ren J, Li S Q, Ye Y L, Wang Z H, Huang J L, Tang Q Y, et al. 2014. Producing more grain with lower environmental costs. Nature, 537, 671–674.
Cheng M, Xue Z J, Xiang Y, Darboux F, An S H. 2015. Soil organic carbon sequestration in relation to revegetation on the Loess Plateau, China. Plant and Soil, 397, 31–42.
Curaqueo G, Barea J M, Acevedo E A, Rubio R, Cornejo P, Borie F. 2011. Effects of different tillage system on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal propagules and physical properties in a Mediterranean agroecosystem in Central Chile. Soil & Tillage Research, 113, 11–18.
Dai X L, Xiao L L, Jia D Y, Kong H B, Wang Y C, Li C X, Zhang Y, He M R. 2014. Increased plant density of winter wheat can enhance nitrogen-uptake from deep soil. Plant and Soil, 384, 141–152.
He J N, Shi Y, Yu Z W. 2019. Subsoiling improves soil physical and microbial properties, and increases yield of winter wheat in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain of China. Soil & Tillage Research, 187, 182–193.
He Y T, Zhang W J, Xu M G, Tong X G, Sun F X, Wang J Z, Huang S M, Zhu P, He X H. 2015. Long-term combined chemical and manure fertilizations increase soil organic carbon and total nitrogen in aggregate fractions at three typical cropland soils in China. Science of the Total Environment, 532, 635–644.
Hou X Q, Li R, Jia Z K, Han Q F, Yang B P. 2012. Effects of rotational tillage practices on soil properties, winter wheat yields and water-use efficiency in semi-arid areas of Northwest China. Field Crops Research, 129, 7–13.
Huang R, Tian D, Liu J, Lv S, He X H, Gao M. 2018. Response of soil carbon pool and soil aggregates associated organic carbon to straw and straw-derived biochar addition in a dryland cropping mesocosm syetem. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 265, 576–586.
Jin L B, Cui H Y, Li B, Zhang J W, Dong S T, Liu P. 2012. Effects of integrated agronomic management practices on yield and nitrogen efficiency of summer maize in North China. Field Crops Research, 134, 30–35.
Karami A, Homaee M, Afzalinia S, Ruhipour H, Basirat S. 2012. Organic resource management: Impacts on soil aggregate stability and other soil physico-chemical properties. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 148, 22–28.
Kong L A. 2014. Maize residues, soil quality, and wheat growth in China. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 34, 405–416.
Kou T J, Zhu P, Huang S, Peng X X, Song Z W, Deng A X, Gao H J, Peng C, Zhang W J. 2012. Effects of long-term cropping regimes on soil carbon sequestration and aggregate composition in rainfed farmland of Northest China. Soil & Tillage Research, 118, 132–138.
Laird D A, Chang C W. 2013. Long-term impacts of residue harvesting on soil quality. Soil & Tillage Research, 134, 33–40.
Lenka N K, Lal R. 2013. Soil aggregation and greenhouse gas flux after 15 years of wheat straw and fertilizer management in a no-till system. Soil & Tillage Research, 126, 78–89.
Li H, Qiu J, Wang L, Tang H, Li C, Van R E. 2010. Modelling impacts of alternative farming management practices on greenhouse gas emissions from a winter wheat-maize rotation system in China. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 135, 24–33.
Li H, Xue J F, Gao Z Q, Xue N W, Yang Z P. 2018. Response of yield increase for dryland winter wheat to tillage practice during summer fallow and sowing method in the Loess Plateau of China. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 17, 817–825.
Li S, Chen J, Shi J L, Tian X H, Li X H, Li Y B, Zhao H L. 2017. Impact of straw return on soil carbon indices, enzyme activity, and grain production. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 81, 1475–1485.
Li S Y, Gu X, Zhuang J, An T T, Pei J B, Xie H T, Li H, Fu S F, Wang J K. 2016. Distribution and storage of crop residue carbon in aggregates and its contribution to organic carbon of soil with low fertility. Soil & Tillage Research, 155, 199–206.
Liu X, Zhou F, Hu G Q, Shao S, He H B, Zhang W, Zhang X D, Li L J. 2019. Dynamic contribution of microbial residues to soil organic matter accumulation influenced by maize straw mulching. Geoderma, 333, 35–42.
Liu Z, Gao J, Gao F, Dong S T, Liu P, Zhao B, Zhang J W. 2018. Integrated agronomic practices management improve yield and nitrogen balance in double cropping of winter wheat-summer maize. Field Crops Research, 221, 196–206.
Luo Z K, Wang E L, Sun O J. 2010. Can no-till stimulated carbon sequestration in agricultural soils? A meta-analysis of paired experiments. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 139, 224–231.
Mele P M, Crowley D E. 2008. Application of self-organizing maps for assessing soil biological quality. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 126, 139–152.
Mu X Y, Zhao Y L, Liu K, Ji BY, Guo H B, Xue Z W, Li C H. 2016. Responses of soil properties, root growth and crop yield to tillage and crop residue management in a wheat-maize cropping system on the North China Plain. European Journal of Agronomy, 78, 32–43.
Parihar C M, Yadav M R, Jat S L, Singh A K, Kumar B, Pooniya V, Pradhan S, Verma R K, Jat M L, Jat R K, Parihar M D, Nayak H S, Saharawat Y S. 2018. Long-term conservation agriculture and intensified cropping systems: Effects on growth, yield, water, and energy-use efficiency of maize in northwestern India. Pedosphere, 28, 952–963.
Puget P, Lal R. 2005. Soil organic carbon and nitrogen in a Mollisol in central Ohio as affected by tillage and land use. Soil & Tillage Research, 80, 201–213.
Rawls W, Gimenez D, Grossman R. 1998. Use of soil texture, bulk density, and slope of the water retention curve to predict saturated hydraulic conductivity. Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, 41, 253–261.
Shi Y, Yu Z W, Man J G, Ma S Y, Gao Z Q, Zhang Y L. 2016. Tillage practices affect dry matter accumulation and grain yield in winter wheat in the North China Plain. Soil & Tillage Research, 160, 73–81.
Six J, Feller C, Denef K, Ogle SM, Sa J C D, Albrecht A. 2002. Soil organic matter, biota and aggregation in temperate and tropical soils - Effects of no-tillage. Agronomie, 22, 755–775.
Song K, Yang J J, Xue Y, Lv W G, Zheng X Q, Pan J J. 2016. Influence of tillage practices and straw incorporation on soil aggregates, organic carbon, and crop yields in a rice-wheat rotation system. Scientific Reports, 6, 36602.
Tan D, Jin J, Huang S, Li S, He P. 2007. Effects of long-term application of K fertilizer and wheat straw to soil on crop yield and soil K under different planting systems. Scientia Agricultura Sinica, 6, 200–207. (in Chinese)
Tao F L, Palosuo T, Valkama E, Mäkipää A. 2019. Cropland soils in China have a large potential for carbon sequestration based on literature survey. Soil & Tillage Research, 186, 70–78.
Tong C, Xiao H, Tang G, Wang H, Huang T, Xia H A, Keith S J, Li Y, Liu S L, Wu J S. 2009. Long-term fertilizer effects on organic carbon and total nitrogen and coupling relationships of C and N in paddy soils in subtropical China. Soil & Tillage Research, 106, 8–14.
Václav S, Radek V, Jana C, Helena K, Pavel R. 2013. Winter wheat yield and quality related to tillage practice: Input level and environmental conditions. Soil & Tillage Research, 132, 77–85.
Wang X B, Cai D X, Hoogmoed O, Oenema W B, Perdok U D. 2006. Potential effect of conservation tillage on sustainable land use: A review of global longterm studies. Pedosphere, 16, 587–595.
Wang X H, Yang H S, Liu J, Wu J S, Chen W P, Wu J S, Chen W P, Wu J, Zhu L Q, Bian X M. 2015. Effects of ditch-buried straw return on soil organic carbon and rice yields in a rice-wheat rotation system. Catena, 127, 56–63.
Wang X J, Jia Z K, Liang L Y, Zhao Y F, Yang B P, Ding R X, Wang J P, Nie J F. 2018. Changes in soil characteristics and maize yield under straw returning system in sryland farming. Field Crops Research, 218, 11–17.
Xie Y X, Jin H Y, Meng Q Y, Wang Y H, Wang C Y, He D X, Guo T C. 2015. Deep tillage improving physical and chemical properties of soil and increasing grain yield of winter wheat in lime concretion black soil farmland. Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering, 31, 167–173. (in Chinese)
Xu X, Pang D W, Chen J, Luo Y L, Zheng M J, Yin Y P, Li Y X, Li Y, Wang Z L. 2018. Straw return accompany with low nitrogen moderately promoted deep root. Field Crops Research, 221, 71–80.
Xu X R, An T T, Zhang J M, Sun Z H, Schaeffer S, Wang J K. 2019. Transformation and stabilization of straw residue carbon in soil affected by soil types, maize straw addition and fertilized levels of soil. Geoderma, 337, 622–629.
Zhang F S, Chen X P, Vitousek P. 2013. Chinese agriculture: An experiment for the word. Nature, 497, 22–35.
Zhang P, Chen X L, Wei T, Yang Z, Jia Z K, Yang B P. 2016. Effects of straw incorporation on the soil nutrient contents, enzyme activities, and crop yield in a semiarid region of China. Soil & Tillage Research, 160, 65–72.
Zhang P, Wei T, Jia Z K, Han Q F, Ren X L. 2014. Soil aggregate and crop yield changes with different rates of straw incorporation in semi-arid areas of Northwest China. Geoderma, 230–231, 41–49.
Zhang S X, Li Q, Zhang X P, Wei K, Chen L J, Liang W J. 2012. Effects of conservation tillage on soil aggregation and aggregate binding agents in black soil of Northeast China. Soil & Tillage Research, 124, 196–202.
Zhao H L, Abdul G S, Li S, Chen Y L, Shi J L, Zhang X Y, Tian X H. 2018. Effect of straw return mode on soil aggregation and aggregate carbon content in an annual maize-wheat double cropping system. Soil & Tillage Research, 175, 178–186.
Zhao Y C, Wang M Y, Hu S J, Zhang X D, Zhu O Y, Zhang G L, Huang B, Zhao S W, Wu J S, Xie D T, Zhu B, Yu D S, Pan X Z, Xu S X, Shi X Z. 2018. Economics- and policy-driven organic carbon input enhancement dominates soil organic carbon accumulation in Chinese croplands. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115, 4045–4050.
Zhu H H, Wu J S, Huang D Y, Zhu Q H, Liu S L, Su Y R, Wei W X, Syers K J, Li Y. 2010. Improving fertility and productivity of a highly-weathered upland soil in subtropical China by incorporating rice straw. Plant and Soil, 331, 427–437.
[1] ZHANG Pan-pan, CHEN Yu-lu, WANG Chen-yang, MA Geng, LÜ Jun-jie, LIU Jing-bao, GUO Tian-cai. Distribution and accumulation of zinc and nitrogen in wheat grain pearling fractions in response to foliar zinc and soil nitrogen applications[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(12): 3277-3288.
[2] WANG Rui, WANG Ying, HU Ya-xian, DANG Ting-hui, GUO Sheng-li. Divergent responses of tiller and grain yield to fertilization and fallow precipitation: Insights from a 28-year long-term experiment in a semiarid winter wheat system[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(11): 3003-3011.
[3] ZHANG Li, CHU Qing-quan, JIANG Yu-lin, CHEN Fu, LEI Yong-deng. Impacts of climate change on drought risk of winter wheat in the North China Plain[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(10): 2601-2612.
[4] HUANG Wan, WU Jian-fu, PAN Xiao-hua, TAN Xue-ming, ZENG Yong-jun, SHI Qing-hua, LIU Tao-ju, ZENG Yan-hua. Effects of long-term straw return on soil organic carbon fractions and enzyme activities in a double-cropped rice paddy in South China[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(1): 236-247.
[5] CAI Dong-yu, YAN Hai-jun, LI Lian-hao. Effects of water application uniformity using a center pivot on winter wheat yield, water and nitrogen use efficiency in the North China Plain[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2020, 19(9): 2326-2339.
[6] LIU Xin, WANG Wen-xin, LIN Xiang, GU Shu-bo, WANG Dong. The effects of intraspecific competition and light transmission within the canopy on wheat yield in a wide-precision planting pattern[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2020, 19(6): 1577-1585.
[7] ZHOU Su-mei, ZHANG Man, ZHANG Ke-ke, YANG Xi-wen, HE De-xian, YIN Jun, WANG Chen-yang. Effects of reduced nitrogen and suitable soil moisture on wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) rhizosphere soil microbiological, biochemical properties and yield in the Huanghuai Plain, China[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2020, 19(1): 234-250.
[8] DUAN Dan-dan, ZHAO Chun-jiang, LI Zhen-hai, YANG Gui-jun, ZHAO Yu, QIAO Xiao-jun, ZHANG Yun-he, ZHANG Lai-xi, YANG Wu-de. Estimating total leaf nitrogen concentration in winter wheat by canopy hyperspectral data and nitrogen vertical distribution[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2019, 18(7): 1562-1570.
[9] ZHANG Xi-wang, LIU Jian-feng, Zhenyue Qin, QIN Fen . Winter wheat identification by integrating spectral and temporal information derived from multi-resolution remote sensing data[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2019, 18(11): 2628-2643.
[10] QIANG Sheng-cai, ZHANG Fu-cang, Miles Dyck, ZHANG Yan, XIANG You-zhen, FAN Jun-liang. Determination of critical nitrogen dilution curve based on leaf area index for winter wheat in the Guanzhong Plain, Northwest China[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2019, 18(10): 2369-2380.
[11] XU Hai-cheng, DAI Xing-long, CHU Jin-peng, WANG Yue-chao, YIN Li-jun, MA Xin, DONG Shu-xin, HE Ming-rong. Integrated management strategy for improving the grain yield and nitrogen-use efficiency of winter wheat[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2018, 17(2): 315-327.
[12] WANG Shi-chao, ZHAO Ya-wen, WANG Jin-zhou, ZHU Ping, CUI Xian, HAN Xiao-zeng, XU Ming-gang, LU Chang-ai . The efficiency of long-term straw return to sequester organic carbon in Northeast China's cropland[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2018, 17(2): 436-448.
[13] YAN Qiu-yan, DONG Fei, LOU Ge, YANG Feng, LU Jin-xiu, LI Feng, ZHANG Jian-cheng, LI Jun-hui, DUAN Zeng-qiang. Alternate row mulching optimizes soil temperature and water conditions and improves wheat yield in dryland farming[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2018, 17(11): 2558-2569.
[14] Tanushree Bera, Sandeep Sharma, H. S. Thind, Yadvinder-Singh, H. S. Sidhu, M. L. Jat. Changes in soil biochemical indicators at different wheat growth stages under conservation-based sustainable intensification of rice-wheat system[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2018, 17(08): 1871-1880.
[15] ZHOU Li-li, LIAO Shu-hua, WANG Zhi-min, WANG Pu, ZHANG Ying-hua, YAN Hai-jun, GAO Zhen, SHEN Si, LIANG Xiao-gui, WANG Jia-hui, ZHOU Shun-li. A simulation of winter wheat crop responses to irrigation management using CERES-Wheat model in the North China Plain[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2018, 17(05): 1181-1193.
No Suggested Reading articles found!