Paddy and Water Environment

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 25–32 | Cite as

Nutrient uptake and water use efficiency as affected by modified rice cultivation methods with reduced irrigation

  • Limei Zhao
  • Lianghuan WuEmail author
  • Meiyan Wu
  • Yongshan Li


A field experiment was conducted in 2005 to investigate the effects of modified rice cultivation methods on: water use efficiency, the uptake of nutrients (N, P and K) by plants, and their distribution within plants and their internal use efficiency. The treatments were modified methods of irrigation, transplanting, weeding, and nutrient management, comparing the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) with standard rice-growing methods including traditional flooding (TF). Results showed that the uptake of N, P, and K by rice plants during their growth stages was greater with SRI management compared to TF, except during the tillering stage. At maturity stage, SRI plants had taken up more nutrients in their different major organs (leaves, stems, and sheaths; panicle axis; and seeds), and they translocated greater amount of nutrients to the grain. Under SRI, the ratio of N, P, and K in seed grain to total plant N, P, and K was 4.97, 2.00, and 3.01% higher, respectively, than with TF. Moreover, under SRI management, internal use efficiency of the three macronutrients (N, P, and K) was increased by 21.89, 19.34, and 16.96%, respectively, compared to rice plants under TF management. These measurements calibrate the crop’s physiological response to differences in cultural practices, including the maintenance of aerobic versus anaerobic environment in the root zones. With SRI, irrigation water applications were reduced by 25.6% compared to TF. Also, total water use efficiency and irrigation water use efficiency was increased with SRI by 54.2 and 90.0%, respectively. Thus, SRI offered significantly greater water saving while at the same time producing more grain yield, in these trials 11.5% more compared to TF.


System of rice intensification Nutrient uptake Internal use efficiency Water use efficiency 



This research was supported by the Key Project of Agricultural Construction Adjustment of Ministry of Agriculture of China (no. 2003-01-02A), the National Critical Project for Science and Technology on Water Pollution Prevention and Control of China (no. 2008-ZX-07101-006) and the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest of China (201003016) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30871595).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Limei Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lianghuan Wu
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Meiyan Wu
    • 4
  • Yongshan Li
    • 5
  1. 1.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Environmental Remediation and Ecosystem Health, College of Environmental and Resource SciencesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Ecology and Environmental ScienceInner Mongolia Agricultural UniversityHohhotChina
  3. 3.Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Subtropic Soil and Plant Nutrition, College of Environmental and Resource SciencesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  4. 4.Agriculture CollegeYangtze UniversityJingzhouChina
  5. 5.Cotton Research InstituteShanxi Academy of Agricultural SciencesYunchengChina

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