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No-Till Direct Seeding for Energy-Saving Rice Production in China

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Farming for Food and Water Security

Part of the book series: Sustainable Agriculture Reviews ((SARV,volume 10))

Abstract

This report shows that no–till direct seeding of super hybrid rice reduced energy use by 21%. Modern agriculture depends heavily on the use of fossil energy. The energy use in agriculture has attracted more and more attention because the increased emissions of greenhouse gases has risen the global mean temperature over the past century, and future impacts on the climate are uncertain. Adoption of no–till farming for crop production, such as corn, wheat or maize, is considered as a possibility to save energy. However, limited information is currently available on the no–till effect on energy use in rice production. In China, significant progress has been made in super hybrid rice breeding, and simplified rice establishment methods have become increasingly attractive because of their labor–saving benefits. No–till direct seeding is a relatively new simplified rice establishment method. We compared yield performance and energy input between transplanted (traditional) and no–till direct seeded super hybrid rice production systems by using data from field experiments and production survey. The results showed that no–till direct seeded system for super hybrid rice production did not reduce grain yield but reduced total energy use by 21% compared to the transplanted system. The reduced total energy use in no–till direct seeded system was attributed to lower energy use in both field operations and producing external inputs. For field operations, no–till direct seeded system had lower energy use by labor and machinery, which contributed about 6% and 38% of the reduced total energy use, respectively. For producing external inputs, energy use in N fertilizer remained the highest contributor to total energy use in both no–till direct seeded and transplanted systems, and the lower energy use in no–till direct seeded system was mainly due to reduced N fertilizer application. Our study suggests that great attention needs to be paid to establish knowledge–based N management practices for no–till direct seeded super hybrid rice in future studies to achieve further energy saving.

Min Huang and Bing Xia are contributed equally to this work.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the International Rice Research Institute, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the Ministry of Agriculture of China, and the China National Rice Research Institute.

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Correspondence to Yingbin Zou .

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Huang, M. et al. (2012). No-Till Direct Seeding for Energy-Saving Rice Production in China. In: Lichtfouse, E. (eds) Farming for Food and Water Security. Sustainable Agriculture Reviews, vol 10. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4500-1_5

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