Pedosphere 14(4): 449--460, 2004
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2004 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Recent trends and recommendations for nitrogen fertilization in intensive agriculture in eastern China
M. ROELCKE1, HAN Yong2, K. H. SCHLEEF3, ZHU Jian-GuO2, LIU Gang2, CAI Zu-Cong2, J. RICHTER1
1 Institute of Geoecology, Technical University Carolo-Wilhelmina, Langer Kamp 19c, 38106 Braunschweig (Germany). E-mail:
2 Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P. 0. Box 821, Nanjing 210008 (China)
3 Institute of Farm Economics, Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL), Bundesallee 50, 38116 Braunschweig (Germany)
      The Taihu Region in eastern China is one of China's most intensive agricultural regions and also one of the economically most developed areas. High nitrogen balance surpluses in the summer rice-winter wheat double-cropping systems are leading to large-scale non-point source pollution of aquifers. In an interdisciplinary approach, four-year (1995-1998) field trials were carried out in two representative areas (Jurong County and Wuxi City) of the Taihu Region. Five farmers' field sites were chosen in each of the 2 locations, with each site divided into "standard" (farmers' practice) and "reduced" (by 30%-40%) N fertilization. For both fertilization intensities, N balance surpluses and monetary returns from grain sales minus fertilizer expenditures were calculated in an economic assessment. Based on the field trials, the mineral N fertilizer application rates reduced by about 10% for rice and 20%-30% for wheat were recommended in 1999. Since 1999, the research focused on the trends in N fertilizer application rates and changes in grain and agricultural commodities prices. Summer rice N fertilizer use, in Wuxi City as of 2001, dropped by roughly 25%, while for winter wheat it decreased by 10%-20%, compared to the 1995-1998 period. This has been achieved not only by grain policy and price changes, but also by an increased environmental awareness from government officials. Nitrogen balance surpluses in Anzhen Town (of Wuxi City) have consequently diminished by 50%-75% in rice and by up to 40% in wheat, with reductions being achieved without concomitant decreases in physical grain yields or returns from sales minus fertilizer costs.
Key Words:  agroeconomy, N fertilization, non-point source pollution, rice-wheat rotation, Taihu Region
Citation: Roelcke, M., Han, Y., Schleef, K. H., Zhu, J. G., Liu, G., Cai, Z. C. and Richter, J. 2004. Recent trends and recommendations for nitrogen fertilization in intensive agriculture in eastern China. Pedosphere. 14(4): 449-460.
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