Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 108, Issue 2, pp 121–133 | Cite as

Long-term potash application and wheat straw return reduced soil potassium fixation and affected crop yields in North China

  • Deshui Tan
  • Zhaohui Liu
  • Lihua Jiang
  • Jiafa Luo
  • Jie Li
Original Article


In light of China’s mineral potassium (K) deficit, it is imperative to improve K fertilizer use efficiency and conserve soil K. This study explored the effects of 15 years (1993–2007) of continuous potash application and wheat straw return on the K fixation capacity of cultivated soils in North China. Soil was collected from a number of long-term test sites, with different rates of potash application and wheat straw return and under different cropping systems. The results showed that long-term continuous potash application and straw return significantly reduced soil K fixation capacity. In addition, soil K fixation increased with the K concentration of the treatment solution. Soil K fixation levels were higher under double cropping systems than for single cropping systems. Soil K fixation capacity showed a clear zonal distribution pattern across North China; the soil K fixation capacity gradually increased from west to east. When the K concentration of the treatment solution was 1000 mg L−1, the average K fixation of soils fertilized only with N and P at experimental sites from Northwest, North-central and Northeast China were 359, 443, and 469 mg kg−1, respectively. The pattern of soil K fixation capacity across the different regions of North China matched the pattern of the timing of significant yield responses to K applications in the different regions. This research suggests that there should be a requirement for straw return as well as K fertilization to optimise K supply to crops during production.


Long-term potassium fertilization Wheat straw North China Potassium fixation capacity Yield 



This research was supported by the National Modern Agriculture Field of Technology Program (863 program) (2013AA102901), Young Talents Program of Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201303013, 201503130), the Special Fund for “overseas abroad Taishan Scholar” construction engineering, and the China Agricultural Research System (CARS-03).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deshui Tan
    • 1
  • Zhaohui Liu
    • 1
  • Lihua Jiang
    • 1
  • Jiafa Luo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jie Li
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Agricultural Resources and Environment, Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences/Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and Fertilizer/Key Laboratory of Wastes Matrix UtilizationMinistry of AgricultureJinanChina
  2. 2.Ruakura Research CentreAgResearch LimitedHamiltonNew Zealand
  3. 3.Shenyang Institute of Applied ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesShenyangChina

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