Mulching-induced changes in tuber yield and nitrogen use efficiency in potato in China: A meta-analysis

Linlin Wang, Jeffrey A. Coulter, Jairo A. Palta, Junhong Xie, Zhuzhu Luo, Lingling Li, Peter Carberry, Qiang Li, Xiping Deng

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37 Scopus citations


In dry environments, potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is grown under mulching for water conservation and improving tuber yield and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). A meta-analysis was conducted to determine how mulching improved tuber yield and NUE in potato and how yield and NUE is influenced by fertilization, tillage practices, and growing environment in China. A search of peer-reviewed publications was performed to collect data on the effects of mulching on yield and NUE in potato grown in China. The data included were from field studies with a mulching and a no mulching treatment and data on tuber yield and NUE. A total of 169 publications (17 in English and 152 in Chinese) containing 1802 observations from 105 sites were compiled into the dataset. Mulching significantly increased both tuber yield and NUE by an average of 24% compared to no mulching, respectively. Plastic film mulching was more effective in improving yield and NUE than straw mulching. The yield and NUE increase were highest under plastic film mulching on ridge-furrow plots and straw mulching on flat plots. Mulching was more effective at improving yield and NUE in the Northwest dryland region at a plant density between 55,000 and 70,000 plants ha−1 and with application of synthetic N and P2O5 at rates of 100−200 kg ha−1, K fertilization at 0−100 kg K2O ha−1, and without organic fertilization. Integrated use of organic fertilizer and mulching was found to reduce synthetic N and P fertilizer input by 50% and K fertilizer input by 100% for production without affecting yield and NUE. These results demonstrate that mulching increases yield and NUE in potato in China, but the benefits occur when the growing region, tillage, and fertilization practices are appropriately considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number793
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 22 2019

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© 2019 by the authors.


  • Mulching
  • Nitrogen use efficiency
  • Potato
  • Tillage
  • Yield


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