Irrigation and fertilisation are key agricultural practices for the increase of crop yields, and thus for food security. The North China Plain (NCP), a heavily populated region in China, has been used to intensive irrigation and fertilisation practices to feed its population. In this area, agriculture takes up about 70% of the total water use; and the consumption of fertiliser is about 330 kg/ha. However, the irrigation water and nitrogen fertiliser are utilised with a low-efficiency due to the excessive irrigation and fertilisation practices in farmers’ field. The improper irrigation and fertilisation practices have not only wasted the resource inputs but also increased the non-point pollution.
Surface irrigation and broadcast fertilisation are widely used but poorly managed by smallholder farmers in the NCP, so it is easy and feasible to improve the current situation by modifying the existing system. Then surface fertigation seems to be the most practicable method to improve the on-farm irrigation and fertilisation performance. Therefore, research that can address farmers’ challenges of fertigation application is still required, as well as the long-term environmental effect by using such practices. The present research aims to develop the optimised practices of on-farm surface fertigation that based on farmers’ acceptance, improving the water and fertiliser use efficiency in farmers’ field and decreasing the nitrogen leaching impact on the agroecology system.
The proposed research will be conducted at Institute of Farmland Irrigation of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) within the Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program of CAAS. The overall project is part of the Joint PhD Talent Cultivation Program that cooperatively-run by Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Graduate School of CAAS.