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Nitrogen balance and irrigation water productivity for corn, sorghum and durum wheat under direct seeding into mulch when compared with conventional tillage in the southeastern France

Khaledian M., Mailhol J.C., Ruelle P., Mubarak I., Maraux F.. 2011. Irrigation Science, 29 (5) : p. 413-422.

Direct seeding into mulch (DSM) reduces soil evaporation. Therefore, DSM can decrease the crop water demand. Furthermore, DSM provides a favorable food source for soil microorganisms that can enhance the degradation of organic matter and improve nitrogen (N) availability for crops. Nowadays, a major challenge in irrigation is to increase irrigation water productivity (WP). This study assessed the impact of DSM on the N balance and WP according to experimental results compared with conventional tillage (CT). The results showed that DSM could mitigate N losses and improve WP for corn and sorghum. Because of field experimental limitations, PILOTE, an operational model, was employed to test the hypothesis that DSM can be more efficient in water use. PILOTE was adapted and then calibrated and validated in the same experimental station. Taking into account the cover crop season, the model simulated the irrigation amount for a corn crop with a target yield of 14 t/ha during the long climatic series of 1991-2007. The results showed a WP increase from 77 with CT to 102 kg/mm with DSM. DSM can improve WP and save a water application depth of 40 mm compared to CT, which is interesting in a context with water scarcity. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : irrigation; azote; semis direct; zea mays; sorghum bicolor; triticum durum; languedoc-roussillon

Thématique : Façons culturales; Systèmes et modes de culture; Chimie et physique du sol

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