Quantifying the interaction of water and radiation use efficiency under plastic film mulch in winter wheat

Dianyuan Ding, Naijiang Wang, Xi Zhang, Yufeng Zou, Ying Zhao, Zhipeng Xu, Xiaosheng Chu, Jianchao Liu, Yanchao Bai, Shaoyuan Feng, Hao Feng, Kadambot H.M. Siddique, Ole Wendroth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Local natural resources, (e.g., precipitation, solar radiation) are important for developing environmentally and scientifically sound management practices in dryland agroecosystem. Maximizing water use efficiency (WUE) in dryland farming systems remains a challenge. The objectives of this study were to assessing the robustness of radiation use efficiency (RUE) during different periods and investigate the interaction between RUE and WUE from water loss pattern and canopy development during wheat growth under different agricultural practices (non-mulched control, CK; transparent film mulching, TF; and black film mulching, BF) from 2013 to 2016 on the Loess Plateau, Northwest China. Results showed that RUE was mainly improved during post-anthesis under PM treatments. PM treatments contributed to elevated canopy photosynthesis and a delayed RUE peak during the reproductive period. Due to the increased spike number and ratio of plant transpiration to soil evaporation, TF and BF treatments had relatively stable photosynthetic activity relative to the CK treatment even those during dry periods. Initially, no relationship was found between WUE and RUE under the CK treatment. On the other hand, RUE and WUE were positively related in TF and BF treatments following a power function. RUE values increased with WUE rapidly to stabilize at a plateau value of 5.5 g MJ−1 under TF and BF treatments, and thus, the wheat WUE had a higher improvement potential than RUE as it did not have an apparent plateau value. PM treatments enhanced the wheat production by taking full advantage of local solar radiation and precipitation (improving RUE and WUE). This higher use efficiency of resources produced more photoassimilates for wheat than that under the CK management, increased source size (LAI) and sink size (spike number) during wheat growth seasons, and thus increased the final grain yield.

Original languageEnglish
Article number148704
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Nov 10 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Crop model
  • Leaf photosynthesis
  • Photoassimilates
  • Rain-fed farming
  • Spike number
  • Yield

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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