Low Soil Temperature Inhibits Yield of Rice Under Drip Irrigation

  • Jun Zhang
  • Jianwei Hou
  • Haoyu Zhang
  • Chaoran Meng
  • Xinjiang Zhang
  • Changzhou WeiEmail author
Research Article


Drip irrigation has recently been proposed as a water-saving method for rice cultivation. Growers have observed that rice yields are less under drip irrigation than under flood irrigation; however, the reason is unclear. The objective of this two-factor experiment was to compare the effects of irrigation method (flood irrigation and drip irrigation) and soil temperature (18, 24, and 30 °C) on rice physiology and yield. The results showed that at 30 °C soil temperature, drip irrigation reduced the photosynthetic activity of rice compared with flood irrigation. Drip irrigation also (i) increased the activities of superoxide dismutase by 5% and catalase by 27% and (ii) reduced endogenous hormone concentrations. At 18 °C soil temperature, drip irrigation significantly increased SOD (+ 7%) and CAT (+ 23%) and significantly reduced GA (− 25%) and IAA (− 16%) concentrations compared with flood irrigation. The ZR+Z concentrations were 13% less in drip irrigation than in flood irrigation at low soil temperature. The negative effects of low soil temperature (18 and 24 °C) were greater under drip irrigation than under flood irrigation, suggesting that low soil temperature exacerbated the stress that rice was under in the drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation significantly reduced the secondary spikelet number compared with flood irrigation. This led to a significant yield reduction. Overall, the combination of low soil temperature and drought stress may be the main reason for the marked decline in the yield of drip-irrigated rice in northern Xinjiang Province.


Soil temperature Rice Drip irrigation Flood irrigation Yield 



Drip irrigation


Flood irrigation


Photosynthetic rate


Stomatal conductance


Intercellular CO2 concentration


Transpiration rate


Superoxide dismutase








Gibberellic acid


Abscisic acid


Indole-3-acetic acid


Zeatin riboside + zeatin


Survived primary branches


Survived secondary branches


Survived spikelets on primary branches


Survived spikelets on secondary branches



We are thankful to Dr. William Gale for his help with the language editing of this manuscript.


This work was supported by the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (2011AA100508), the National Science Funds of China (31471947), and the National Science Funds of China (31860587).


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Copyright information

© Sociedad Chilena de la Ciencia del Suelo 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jianwei Hou
    • 1
  • Haoyu Zhang
    • 1
  • Chaoran Meng
    • 1
  • Xinjiang Zhang
    • 1
  • Changzhou Wei
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Lab of Oasis Ecology Agriculture of Xinjiang Production and Construction Group, Agriculture CollegeShihezi UniversityShiheziPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center of Water Security for Water Source Region of Mid-line of South-to-North Diversion Project of Henan ProvinceNanyang Normal UniversityNanyangPeople’s Republic of China

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