© 2015 Wei et al. Soil infertility is the main barrier to dryland agricultural production in China. To provide a basis for the establishment of a soil amelioration technical system for rainfed fields in the semiarid area of northwest China, we conducted a four - year (2007-2011) field experiment to determine the effects of wheat straw incorporation on the arid soil nutrient levels of cropland cultivated with winter wheat after different straw incorporation levels. Three wheat straw incorporation levels were tested (H: 9000 kg hm < sup > -2 < /sup > , M: 6000 kg hm < sup > -2 < /sup > , and L: 3000 kg hm < sup > -2 < /sup > ) and no straw incorporation was used as the control (CK). The levels of soil nutrients, soil organic carbon (SOC), soil labile organic carbon (LOC), and enzyme activities were analyzed each year after the wheat harvest. After straw incorporation for four years, the results showed that variable straw amounts had different effects on the soil fertility indices, where treatment H had the greatest effect. Compared with CK, the average soil available N, available P, available K, SOC, and LOC levels were higher in the 0-40 cm soil layers after straw incorporation treatments, i.e., 9.1-30.5%, 9.8-69.5%, 10.3-27.3%, 0.7-23.4%, and 44.4-49.4% higher, respectively. On average, the urease, phosphatase, and invertase levels in the 0-40 cm soil layers were 24.4-31.3%, 9.9-36.4%, and 42.9-65.3% higher, respectively. Higher yields coupled with higher nutrient contents were achieved with H, M and L compared with CK, where these treatments increased the crop yields by 26.75%, 21.51%, and 7.15%, respectively.
Wei, T., Zhang, P., Wang, K., Ding, R., Yang, B., Nie, J., … Han, Q. (2015). Effects of wheat straw incorporation on the availability of soil nutrients and enzyme activities in semiarid areas. PLoS ONE, 10(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0120994