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Impact of irrigation management on paddy soil N supply and depth distribution of abiotic drivers
- Akter, Masuda, Deroo, Heleen, Kamal, Ahammad Mostafa, Kader, Mohammed Abdul, Verhoeven, Elizabeth, Decock, Charlotte, Boeckx, Pascal, Sleutel, Steven
- Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 2018 v.261 pp. 12-24
- aerobic conditions, carbon dioxide, direct seeding, drying, field experimentation, floodplains, germination, grain yield, greenhouse gas emissions, growing season, iron, irrigation management, irrigation water, manganese, methane, methanogens, microbial activity, mineralization, night temperature, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, paddy soils, redox potential, rice, seedlings, soil heating, soil minerals, soil organic matter, soil pH, soil water, urea, water conservation, water stress, Bangladesh
- In rice production, water-saving irrigation management is expanding and likely alters depth profiles of soil moisture, redox potential (Eh) and microbial activity. It is, however, unclear how such conditions then impact net soil N-release and availability to the rice crop, because we do not know well enough how water-saving irrigation management shapes depth-distribution of Eh and reductive processes, and microbial activity. A field experiment with rice was laid out on a typical young floodplain paddy soil of Bangladesh with three irrigation schemes, viz. continuous flooding (CF), safe alternate wetting and drying (AWD) and direct seeded rice (DSR), with 120 kg N ha−1 (N120) or without (N0) urea application. We evaluated changes in soil mineral N and plant N uptake, CH4 and CO2 emissions and soil pH, and at multiple depths soil Eh and temperature, dissolved C, Fe and Mn throughout 2015 dry (Boro) season (Jan–Apr). Eh stayed at or above ∼+300 mV except for sudden drops to ∼−200 mV with irrigation events in DSR. Eh quickly dropped to methanogenic conditions, under both AWD and CF; rises to ∼+200 mV were observed during AWD-drainage events but were restricted to upper 5.5 or 12.5 cm depths. Throughout the growing season there was a pronounced increase in reductive dissolution of Fe and Mn (hydro-) oxides, buildup of dissolved C, and CH4 effluxes under AWD and CF but not DSR, likely at least partially driven by the gradual soil warming from ∼20 °C till 28 °C. Predominant aerobic conditions under DSR lead to a nearly doubled C-emissions (CO2 + CH4) compared to AWD and CF, suggesting more soil organic matter (OM) degradation in the former case, while soil mineral N plus plant N build-up rate followed an opposite order. Urea application did not raise soil exchangeable N levels, even prior to significant plant uptake from 28 DAT (days after transplanting), and we forward temporal abiotic NH4+-fixation and N-removal processes as explanations. We conclude that regardless of some distinctions in temporal evolutions of puddle layer Eh, solution C, Fe and Mn, and CH4-emission, soil N-supply was quite comparable under AWD and CF, as was rice yield. In the context of N availability, AWD could be safely adopted for rice growth in the Bangladeshi Boro season. The eventual fertilizer N recovery efficiency was higher for CF (42%) than for AWD (32%), but AWD saved 12% irrigation water. While DSR saved 45% water there was a large yield penalty, likely due to drought stress but also by poor germination caused by cold night temperatures in mid-January, while seedling transplantation in CF and AWD plots was only later on 28 January. Further research should be conducted to investigate the fast and pronounced removal of exchangeable inorganic N after initial N buildup by soil OM mineralization, especially in CF and AWD. At this moment most likely candidate processes appear clay-NH4+ fixation and anaerobic NH4+-oxidation.