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Frontiers of Agriculture in China

ISSN 1673-7334

ISSN 1673-744X(Online)

CN 11-5729/S

Front Agric Chin    2010, Vol. 4 Issue (4) : 422-429     DOI: 10.1007/s11703-010-1049-z
Chemical fertilizer reduction and soil fertility maintenance in rice–fish coculture system
Jian XIE1, Xue WU1, Jianjun TANG1, Jiaen ZHANG2, Xin CHEN1()
1. College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China.; 2. Institute of Tropical and Subtropical Ecology, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
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In the long run, whether the use of chemical fertilizers could be reduced and soil fertility could be maintained through rice–fish coculture is less well known. At the pilot site of the rice–fish coculture system, which is one of the five “globally important agricultural heritage systems” (GIAHS), we conducted a 4-year study to compare fertilizer use, rice yield, and soil fertility in rice–fish coculture and rice monoculture. Based on the survey data from 21 villages, rice yield did not differ between rice monoculture and rice–fish coculture, but less chemical fertilizers were used in rice–fish coculture than in rice monoculture. Survey data from 145 farms also showed that rice–fish coculture farms with high input of feed for fish used less chemical fertilizers for rice production than farms with low input of feed for fish. In the 4-year field experiment, although less fertilizer was used in rice–fish coculture, rice yield, soil organic matter, soil total nitrogen, and soluble phosphorus did not differ between rice–fish coculture and rice monoculture. Our results suggest that rice–fish coculture can reduce chemical fertilizers application, enhance land productivity, and maintain soil fertility. Our results also suggest that rice–fish coculture could reduce the risk of non-point source pollution by reducing the input of chemical fertilizers.

Keywords rice monoculture      rice–fish coculture      fertilizers      rice yield      soil fertility     
Corresponding Authors: CHEN Xin,   
Issue Date: 05 December 2010
URL:     OR
Fig.1  Map of China (mainland) showing the study area and sample distribution
Note: Black dots with letters indicate the three counties in which farmers and farms were surveyed. Red dots indicate sampled villages. The blue star indicates the central GIAHS pilot site where we conducted the field experiment.
Fig.2  Utilization of organic fertilizers (O-fertilizer) and chemical fertilizers (C-fertilizer) in rice monoculture (RM) and in rice–fish coculture (RF) from 2006 to 2009 based on survey data
Note: Values are means±.
Fig.3  Utilization of chemical N, P, and K in rice monoculture (RM) and rice–fish coculture (RF) from 2006 to 2009 based on survey data.
Note: Values are means±.
Fig.4  Rice yield (bars) in rice monoculture (RM) and in rice–fish coculture (RF) and fish yield (line) in rice–fish coculture from 2006 to 2009 based on survey data.
Note: Values are means±.
fish feedrate of feed input/ (kg·hm-2)
rice632.23±95.24 a163.50±28.06 b
rice bran126.49±47.94 a105.33±28.56 a
wheat113.67±58.48 a52.73±18.84 a
vegetable144.97±105.61 a68.45±27.44 a
rapeseed cake135.52±15.27 a48.94±5.86 b
formula734.36±168.03 a97.93±25.24 b
Tab.1  The feed for fish in rice–fish coculture with high and low input of feed in 2008 based on survey data
Fig.5  Fertilizer utilization (a), fish yield (b), and rice yield (c) on rice–fish coculture farms with high vs. low input of fish feed based on survey data
Note: Values are means±. O-fertilizer: organic fertilizers; C-fertilizer: chemical fertilizers. In each row, values followed by a different letter are significantly different at <0.05. The formula contained 30% protein.
Fig.6  Total soil N (a), soil soluble phosphorus (b), and soil organic matter (c) in rice monoculture (RM) plots and rice–fish coculture (RF) plots in the field experiment
Note: Values are means±. TN: total nitrogen; SP: soluble phosphorus; OM: organic matter.
Fig.7  Rice yield in rice monoculture (RM) plots and rice–fish coculture (RF) plots in the field experiment
Note: Values are means±
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