BEIJING, July 13 (Xinhua) -- The use of plastic film mulching in the past decades has increased crop yield and water use efficiency in China, according to a recent study.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the China Agricultural University conducted a meta-analysis of 3,570 sets of field data collected from 788 locations in the past 36 years to evaluate the role of plastic film mulching in crop production.
Results showed that the use of plastic film mulching increased crop yields by an average of 45.5 percent, and improved water use efficiency by 58 percent in China. The use of plastic film mulching had a significant effect on areas where annual precipitation is less than 400 millimeters.
The study can serve as an example to the world on how to increase yields with plastic film mulching, a simple and cost-effective technique.
The study also noted that plastic film mulching may lead to the accumulation of plastic film residue in the soil, which can reduce soil fertility in some cases. Recyclable or degradable films could be options in the future.
The study was published in the journal National Science Review. Enditem