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CSAWAC 43 (8) 1115-1266 (2015) Vol. 43 No.

8 August 2015

Soil Air Water
Environmental Monitoring

8 | 2015

Abdul Khaliq1
Amar Matloob1,2
Adnan Hussain1
Saddam Hussain1,3
Farhena Aslam1
Shahid Ibni Zamir1
Muhammad Umer Chattha1

Department of Agronomy, University

of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Punjab,

Department of Agronomy,
Muhammad Nawaz Shareef
University of Agriculture, Multan,
Punjab, Pakistan

College of Resources and

Environment, Huazhong Agricultural
University, Wuhan, Hubei, P. R.

Research Article
Wheat Residue Management Options Affect Crop
Productivity, Weed Growth, and Soil Properties in
Direct-Seeded Fine Aromatic Rice
Wheat residue management can inuence soil health, weed growth, and productivity
of subsequent rice crop. A eld study was conducted to appraise the inuence of
different wheat residue management options viz., surface mulching of wheat residue
(SMWR), wheat residue soil incorporation, wheat residue burning, zero tillage (ZT), and
surface seeding on weed growth, soil physico-chemical properties, and productivity of
ne aromatic rice crop. Traditional transplanted rice (TPR) was maintained as control.
The response of rice yield and its components including the number of productive
tillers, grains per panicle and 1000-grain weight differed signicantly under the
inuence of various residue management options. SMWR recorded the highest grain
yield (3.86 t ha1) after TPR (4.18 t ha1). Furthermore, the leaf area index and crop
growth rate were also higher in SMWR and TPR compared with other treatments.
Residue management options had a signicant effect on weed population and dry
biomass. A minimum weed density was observed in TPR (3339 plants m2) followed by
SMWR (7893 plants m2). Available phosphorus in the experimental soil of TPR and
SMWR treatments was increased by 74 and 45% compared to its initial value. Moreover,
other soil attributes like organic matter, available potassium, and soil nitrogen were
also improved by the application of wheat residue. Conclusively, SMWR was the best
treatment for direct-seeded rice among the residues management options in terms of
nal yield, weed burden, and improvement of soil health, although nitrogen and
organic matter was higher under ZT.
Keywords: Crop residue; Environmental pollution; Mulching; Transplanted puddled rice; Zero
Received: October 26, 2014; revised: March 7, 2015; accepted: April 22, 2015
DOI: 10.1002/clen.201400776

1 Introduction
The ricewheat cropping system is the core production system and
prevalent sequence covering an area of 2.2 million hectares in
Pakistan [1]. This production system is vital for countrys food
security and undoubtedly can be regarded as the bread basket. A
huge amount of crop residues (69 t ha1) is annually produced in
this system. Kumar and Goh [2] described crop residues as left over
material in the eld after harvesting and threshing of a eld crop
has been accomplished. Crop residues are a valuable natural
resource and their efcient management is essential for sustainable
crop production [3, 4]. Crop residue management can have denite

Correspondence: S. Hussain, College of Resources and Environment,

Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei 430070, P. R. China
Abbreviations: CGR, crop growth rate; DAS, day after sowing; DSR,
direct-seeded rice; EC, electrical conductivity; LAI, leaf area index;
SMWR, surface mulching of wheat residue; SS, surface seeding; TPR,
transplanted rice; WRB, wheat residue burning; WRI, wheat residue soil
incorporation; ZT, zero tillage
2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

implications on soil physico-chemical properties [5], microbial

dynamics [6], nutrient recycling [7], and weed spectrum [2, 4].
Therefore, proper management and utilization of crop residues can
affect the overall system productivity as well as sustainability and
environment quality.
With the acute shortage of agricultural labor, mechanical
harvesting with the combine harvester has become increasingly
common in Pakistan, which generates a huge amount of residues.
Moreover, residue management is a challenging task because proper
disposal of previous crop residues is necessary to bring the eld into
working conditions for sowing of the next crop [3]. Various residue
management options viz., burning, incorporation, surface mulching, surface seeding, or direct drilling on the residues can be opted.
Each residue management method has its own pros and cons,
therefore, a single management strategy is not benecial under all
situations [2]. Thus, the intended purpose of residue management is
the maintenance of soil fertility and weed management at the
specic site conditions for which a particular residue management
practice might be more appropriate than other options.
The management options opted for one crop can exert profound
effect on the subsequent crop that follows in the cropping sequence.

Clean Soil, Air, Water 2015, 43 (8), 12591265


A. Khaliq et al.

Crop residues enhance soil quality and improve the nutrient status
of soil. Incorporation of crop residues increased organic carbon and
the nutrient status of soil [8] and enhanced crop yields [9]. Open-eld
burning of crop residues is a common practice due to associated
advantages like destruction of injurious pests and timely cleaning of
the eld. Nevertheless, burning of crop residues results in losses of a
huge amount of nitrogen (up to 80%), phosphorus (25%), potassium
(21%) and sulfur (460%), and causes air pollution (CO2 13 t ha1) [1].
Residue burning also creates deciency of organic matter in soils
which is one of the known hazards to the sustainability of the rice
wheat system [1, 10]. Residue incorporation leads to build up of soil
organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nevertheless,
the main shortcoming of residue incorporation is the immobilization of inorganic nitrogen. Though, nitrogen at 1520 kg ha1 as rst
starter dose with residue incorporation increased the yield of both
rice and wheat crops than residue burning [1]. Other possible
limitations of residue incorporation just prior to rice transplanting
comprise buildup of phenolic acids in soil and amplied CH4
productions under ooded environments [8].
There is an ever growing consensus that crop residue management
can regulate weed diversity and community composition by bringing
qualitative and quantitative changes [11]. Moreover, altered soil
properties in response to residue management can also inuence
weed ora through their impact on weed seed survival, dormancy,
predation, and long term viability [12, 13]. Crop residues can suppress
weeds through physical hindrance, or by posing chemical effects
(allelopathy). Wheat is a potent allelopathic crop [14] and inhibitory
effects of wheat residues upon decomposition to certain weeds have
been well documented [1416]. Incorporation of crop residues
suppresses weeds through the release of phytotoxins [16], while
mulching of crop residues produces a smothering effect on weeds [17].
Crop residue burning is considered as a controversial residue
management option due to associated environmental hazards [18],
yet it can deplete weed seed bank by destroying viable seeds in the soil.
Looming water crises and escalating input prices have compelled
rice farmers to seek alternatives to conventional transplanted rice
whose sustainability is endangered by meager supply of fresh water
in the region [19]. Direct-seeded rice (DSR) seems a potential
alternative whose adoption can help to meet goals of resource
conservation besides eliminating time and edaphic conict in the
ricewheat cropping system [1921]. Although, successfully adopted
and incorporated in cropping systems of many Asian countries, DSR
is still at its infant stage in Pakistan [22]. The success of this approach
relies primarily in optimizing management practices that inuence
its productivity and sustainability. It is hypothesized that various
wheat residue management options can alter soil physico-chemical
properties, nutrient dynamics, and weed response, thus inuencing
the productivity of DSR. Despite the availability of volumetric
information on the inuence of rice residues on the performance of
the following wheat crop [13], few studies have addressed the
management of wheat residues in the scenario of direct-seeded rice.
Thus, exploring various wheat residue management techniques
remain a germane issue that needs to be considered in the
perspective of productivity of subsequent DSR crop in the rice
wheat cropping system. Therefore, the present study was designed to
ascertain the response of DSR and associated weed ora toward
wheat residue management under agro-ecological conditions of
Faisalabad, Pakistan. Changes in soil physico-chemical properties in
response to various wheat residue management options were also
2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

2 Materials and methods

2.1 Site description
The proposed study was conducted at the Agronomic Research Farm,
University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan (31.25 N, 73.09 E,
184 m a.s.l.). The soil of the experimental site belongs to the Lyallpur
soil series (Aridisol-ne-silty, mixed, hyperthermic Ustalc,
Haplargid in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) classication
and Haplic Yermosols in the Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) classication). Soil samples were collected at two different
depths (015 cm and 1530 cm) from the experimental site prior to
sowing and after application of the treatments. Analyses for various
soil physico-chemical properties were done and the data are
presented in Tab. 1. The meteorological data during the course of
crop growth are shown in Fig. 1.

2.2 Experimental details

The experiment was conducted during the summer 2012 (June
November). Seeds of popular rice cv. Super basmati were obtained
from the Rice Research Institute, Kala Shah Kaku, Sheikhupura.
Seeds were osmo-hardened in 2.2% CaCl2 solution with an osmotic
potential of 1.25 MPa [23]. A pre-sowing irrigation of 10 cm was
applied ve days before rice planting to keep zero tillage (ZT) plots
soften and moist, and also to facilitate root and seed bed preparation
in the plots of other treatments. The previous wheat crop was
Table 1. Physico-chemical properties of the experimental soil before
treatment application

Soil characteristic
Soil textural class
EC (dS m1)
Available P (mg kg1)
Available K (mg kg1)
Organic matter (%)
Organic carbon (%)
Total N (%)

015 cm

1530 cm




Sandy clay loam

Calcareous alkaline

Figure 1. Weekly meteorological data during the course of the present


Clean Soil, Air, Water 2015, 43 (8), 12591265



harvested manually. Under eld, wheat residue incorporation (WRI)

was accomplished by cultivating the soil with a disk plough and
then cultivating thrice with a tractor-mounted cultivator followed
by planking. For wheat residue burning (WRB), wheat residues were
burnt in situ and the above mentioned tillage operations were
carried out. For surface seeding (SS), rice seeds were broadcasted
onto a saturated soil surface, whereas surface mulching (2 cm thick
layer) with wheat residue (SMWR) was done manually. For WRI,
WRB, and SMWR treatments, a residue rate of 5 t ha1 was used as
per treatment. The C/N ratio in wheat residues was 77:1. Sowing in
the ZT plots was performed on an undisturbed seed bed in a single
pass operation. The ZT plots were sprayed (spray volume of
350 L ha1) with glyphosate at 1 kg a.i. ha1 (Roundup, Monsanto
Agritech, Pakistan) 20 days before sowing to curtail established
weeds that were otherwise killed through cultivation in the other
residue management practices. Rice was sown with a single row
hand drill using a seed rate of 50 kg ha1. For nursery raising,
standard procedures as described by Chaudhry [24] were followed.
Sowing of rice nursery for transplanted rice TPR was done on June 1,
2012. All DSR plots were also sown on the same date. TPR was sown
on a puddled soil. Puddled conditions were created by cultivating
soil four times in the presence of standing water followed by three
times of planking to achieve desired tilth. After puddling, the soil
was left for one day to settle soil particles. Four weeks old rice
seedlings were transplanted at the rate of two seedlings per hill.
Crop was sown in 20 cm spaced rows and for transplanting a hill to
hill distance of 20 cm was also maintained.
Based on soil analyses, a fertilizer dose of 126 kg N, 75 kg P2O5,
40 kg K2O, and 10 kg Zn ha1 was applied in the form of urea (46% N),
diammonium phosphate (18% N and 46% P2O5), sulfate of potash
(50% K2O), and zinc sulfate (33%), respectively. The whole (100%) P, K,
Zn, and one-third (33%) of N (42 kg ha1) were applied at the time of
sowing. The remaining N (84 kg ha1) was top-dressed in two equal
splits: at tillering (30 days after sowing, DAS) and at panicle initiation
(70 DAS). The rst irrigation was applied at ve DAS and the crop was
irrigated subsequently as and when needed. For transplanted rice, a
water depth of 3 cm was maintained for 1 week after transplanting,
then it was gradually increased to a constant depth of 67 cm that was
maintained till panicle initiation. Afterwards, intermittent ooding
and drying cycle followed. Irrigation in all experimental plots was
stopped ten days before harvest at physiological maturity. To
safeguard the crop against insect pests, carbofuron (Furadan 3G) at
22.5 kg ha1 was used as a sand mixture just after irrigation at 60 DAS.
For protection against paddy blast (Pyricularia oryzae), Topsin-M 70WP
(thiophenate methyl) was used twice at 1250 g ha1 prior to panicle
initiation and at 14 days after panicle initiation.

method [26]. The soil textural class was determined by using the
international textural triangle method described by Brady [27]. Data
on weeds (density and biomass) for each experimental unit were
recorded from two randomly selected squares (50  50 cm2) at 30 and
45 DAS. Weeds were counted and clipped above the ground surface,
and then dried in an oven at 70C for 72 h. The dry biomass was
recorded thereafter. All experimental plots received one manual
weeding at 50 DAS to avoid crop failure due to weed infestation. A
0.5 m long row of rice crop was harvested at fortnight interval after
leaving appropriate borders starting from 45 DAS until 105 DAS.
Plant material was separated into respective fractions (stem, leaves,
and panicles) and fresh and dry weights were determined. The leaf
area of a sub-sample (3 g) was measured using a leaf area meter (CI202, CID Bio-Science, USA). The leaf area index (LAI) was then
calculated as the ratio of the leaf area to land area following the
procedure of Watson [28]. The crop growth rate (CGR) expressed as
the rate of dry matter accumulation per unit area and time was
calculated according to the method of Hunt [29].

2.3 Analyses

3 Results

Soil samples were taken at the beginning of the experiment (June 1,

2012) and after harvest (November 10, 2012) from all 24
experimental plots. Six individual cores per experimental plot were
separated into 015 cm and 1530 cm soil depths. Afterwards the
collected soil samples were bulked to one composite soil sample per
plot. Soil samples were then sieved through a 5-mm mesh and kept
at 4C until they were analyzed. Soil physico-chemical properties
(pH, electrical conductivity (EC), available P, available K, total N,
organic matter) were determined as per Ryan et al. [25]. For
measurements of soil pH and EC, a soil/water suspension at a ratio of
1:2 was used. The soil texture was determined by the hydrometer

3.1 Rice crop

2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


W 2  W 1
t2  t1

where W2 and W1 are the dry biomass of the samples harvested at t1

and t2, respectively. The data on agronomic and yield attributes of
rice were recorded from ten randomly selected plants from each plot
and averaged thereof. Panicle-bearing tillers (m2) were counted
from two randomly selected places from each plot. The crop was
manually harvested at physiological maturity, when panicles were
fully ripened with a moisture content of 21%. For all treatments, ve
rows of 5 m length were harvested from respective plots. Each
experimental plot was manually threshed to determine grain yield,
presented as t ha1 after adjustment to 14% moisture content. A
random sample of rice kernels was taken from the produce of each
plot; 1000 grains were counted manually and weighed.

2.4 Statistical analysis

A randomized complete block design was used with four
replications. The net plot size was 9.0  2.6 m2. The data collected
were subjected to Fishers analysis of variance and the least
signicance difference test at p  0.05 was employed to compare the
treatment means (Statistix 8.1, Analytical software, Statistix,
Tallahassee, FL, USA). Data on weed density and dry biomass were
transformed; however, square root transformation did not improve
the variance homogeneity. Therefore, non-transformed data on
weed attributes were used for further statistical analyses.

Signicant (p  0.05) variations regarding different growth and

agronomic attributes of rice were observed under the inuence of
different wheat residue management options. A periodic increase in
LAI was observed with time and the highest values of LAI were
observed at 90 DAS for all treatments, which declined thereafter
(Fig. 2). At 90 DAS, the maximum LAI was scored by TPR followed by
SMWR and WRI treatments, while the minimum LAI was recorded in
ZT plots. Likewise, CGR also manifested a temporal increase and the
maximum values were achieved between 75 and 90 DAS (Fig. 2). CGR

Clean Soil, Air, Water 2015, 43 (8), 12591265


A. Khaliq et al.

followed by ZT plots (36.66 m2), and a lower number of unproductive tillers was recorded for TPR (21.66 m2), WRB (23.33 m2), SMWR
(24.33 m2), and WRI (28.33 m2) treatments which were statistically
(p  0.05) similar. Many branches per panicle were recorded for rice
grown in TPR plots compared with other treatments (Tab. 2), while a
minimum (p  0.05) number of branches per panicle was obtained
for rice grown in SS plots. The number of grains per panicle and
1000-grain weight was also higher in the case of TPR followed by
SMWR for these two attributes. Nevertheless, a minimum number of
grains per panicle (96.33) and 1000-grain weight (16.13 g) were
recorded for SS. The SS plots are on par (p  0.05) with ZT plots
regarding the 1000-grain weight. The maximum biological yield
(13.46 t ha1) as well as grain yield (4.18 t ha1) were observed
for TPR, and SMWR was the next effective treatment in this regard
(Tab. 2).

3.2 Weed growth

Figure 2. Inuence of different residue management options on (a) LAI

and (b) CGR of rice. Vertical bars above the means denote the standard
error of four replicates.

of rice under TPR was signicantly higher than all other treatments,
nevertheless, the lowest values of CGR were scored for SMWR and ZT
plots (Fig. 2). The maximum plant height (94.50 cm) was observed in
TPR, while the minimum (86.10 cm) was recorded for SS that was,
however, similar (p  0.05) with WRI, WRB, and ZT treatments. The
maximum number of productive tillers (495.67 m2) was also
observed for TPR followed by SMWR treatment (Tab. 2). The
minimum number of tillers was shown for ZT and SS treatments
which were statistically (p  0.05) similar. The maximum number of
unproductive tillers was counted for rice grown in SS (43.33 m2)

Weed ora of the experimental site comprised Trianthema portulacastrum L., Portulaca oleracea L., and Alternanthera philoxeroides (Mart.)
Griseb as broad-leaves; Dactyloctenium aegyptium (L.) Willd., Eleusine
indica (L.) Gaertn., Echinochloa colona (L.) Link, E. crus-galli (L.) P. Beauv.,
Leptochloa chinensis (L.) Nees, and Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. as grasses;
and Cyperus rotundus L. and C. iria L. as sedges. The data regarding
weed growth (Tab. 3) showed that SS and ZT plots were overwhelmed
by weeds both in terms of density and biomass. These two
treatments realized the greatest weed growth at both 30 and 45
DAS compared to other treatments, and were statistically similar
(p  0.05). The DSR plots sown under SS and ZT recorded a weed
density of 197.33 and 182.33 plants m2 at 30 DAS and 236 and
219.33 plants m2 at 45 DAS, respectively. For TPR, the weed count
was 83% less than SS plots (Tab. 3). SMWR was the second effective
treatment after TPR regarding weed count. Like weed density, weed
dry biomass was also the highest (p  0.05) in the case of SS and ZT
plots. Nevertheless, with the exception of TPR and SMWR, all
treatments recorded signicantly higher weed dry biomass. At 45
DAS, the weed dry biomass was in the order of TPR < SMWR < WRB
< WRI < ZT < SS (Tab. 3).

3.3 Soil properties

Various residue management options affected signicantly (p  0.05)
soil physico-chemical properties (Tab. 4). The maximum soil EC at
015 cm (1.96 dS m1) and 1530 cm (2.20 dS m1) depths was measured for SS treatment that was 34 and 40% higher than the initial
EC values before the application of residue management treatments

Table 2. Inuence of different residue management options on the yield and yield components of rice

LSD p  0.05

height (cm)


tiller (m2)

tiller (m2)

Branch per

Grain per

weight (g)

Biological yield
(t ha1)

Grain yield
(t ha1)








Means not sharing a letter in common differ signicantly at 5% probability level by LSD test.

2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

Clean Soil, Air, Water 2015, 43 (8), 12591265


1530 cm, available N was 100 and 43% higher in soils of ZT and TPR
plots, respectively. Both ZT and TPR plots showed organic matter
accumulation at the harvest greater than the initial values, at the time
of sowing. After harvesting, higher soil organic matter contents were
recorded for ZT plots at soil depths of 015 cm (0.70%) and 1530 cm
(0.56%) followed by TPR with the mean values of 0.57 and 0.45%,
respectively. The soil of the WRI plots contained more organic matter
than WRB at both soil sampling depths (Tab. 4).

Table 3. Inuence of different residue management options on total

weed density and total weed dry biomass

Weed density (m2)

LSD p < 0.05

30 DAS


Weed dry biomass (g m2)

45 DAS


30 DAS



45 DAS

4 Discussion
The present study demonstrated the superiority of TPR compared to
treatments regarding crop growth, yield attributes, and weed
suppression. The different performance of TPR compared with DSR
treatments might be due to the differences in spatial crop
arrangements, soil properties, nutrient transformations, irrigation
regimes, and weed infestation level. Better yield and yield
components observed under TPR might be an outcome of greater
nutrient availability, better resource acquisition, and reduced weed
competition. More LAI and higher CGR might have positively
contributed to the higher yield of TPR. The lower number of
productive tillers under SS and ZT treatments was possibly due to
severe weed infestation and seed predation by insects, birds, and
rodents under eld conditions. The highest number of unproductive
tillers of rice in SS and ZT plots was primarily due to shallow roots
conned to the upper surface of soil which perhaps failed to
efciently extract nutrients and water needed for growth, and
healthy tiller production. Greater weed competition with rice plants
for growth resources might have also contributed to more
unproductive tillers in SS and ZT plots. Transient signs of N
deciency due to immobilization and microbial competition for N
were observed under WRI. However, these effects were overcome
when another supplemental dose of N was applied at tillering. The
lower rice grain yield might also be due to the release of phytotoxic
products in the WRI plots during residue decomposition.
The TPR crop had a denite competitive advantage over weeds
which have been recognized as the most serious biological
constraint to crop productivity. Nonetheless, the lack of a head
start as well as competitive-advantage over weeds by DSR might be a
reason for heavy weed infestation in DSR plots irrespective of the
residue management option used. Physical (reduced light availability, physical hindrance) and chemical (allelopathic) limitations were
presumably helpful in averting weed count and dry biomass in
SMWR plots. The signicance of SMWR as a weed control tactic was
apparent for non-ooded conditions when rice seedlings were small

Means not sharing a letter in common differ signicantly at 5%

probability level by LSD test.

(Tab. 4). The minimum soil EC at 015 cm (1.25 dS m1) depth was
recorded in WRB that was 14% less than the initial EC value. At 15
30 cm depth, the soil of the ZT plots recorded the lowest (1.29 dS m1)
EC value. The soil pH was decreased signicantly (p  0.05) under the
inuence of different residue management treatments. The maximum decrease at 015 cm (7.4%) and 1530 cm (6.3%) of soil pH was
observed for TPR. The smallest reduction (3.7%) of pH at 015 cm soil
depth was recorded for SS plots, whereas at 1530 cm, the WRI plots
exhibited the lowest reduction (1.3%) (Tab. 4). A considerable increase
of available P at 015 cm and 1530 cm soil depths was observed after
crop harvesting. At 015 cm depth, TPR and SMWR plots recorded 74
and 49% increase of the initial p-value. The lowest available P was
recorded for SS plots. Interestingly, WRI and WRB were statistically
similar regarding available P content at both sampling depths. At 0
15 cm soil depth, the maximum value of available K (280 mg kg1) was
measured for soil where WRI was implemented, and this value was
much higher than the initial value (114 mg kg1) prior to the
application of residue management treatments. This treatment was
followed by SMWR, TPR, and ZT, which recorded 39.5, 5.6, and 4.4%
higher K than its initial value at 015 cm soil depth. The minimum
available K was recorded for soil taken from WRB (100 mg kg1) and SS
(103.33 mg kg1) plots that was 12 and 9.4% less than initial K values,
respectively. At 1530 cm soil depth, the maximum values of available
K were recorded for WRI and TPR treatments. At 015 cm soil depth, the
maximum value of total N was observed in ZT plots (0.18%) followed by
TPR (0.14%) plots that was 125 and 75% higher than the initial soil N
value. However, the minimum values of total N were recorded for soils
of SS (0.03%), SMWR (0.04%), WRI (0.04%), and WRB (0.05%) plots. At

Table 4. Inuence of different residue management options on soil physico-chemical properties

EC (dS m1)
LSD p < 0.05

Soil pH

015 cm 1530 cm 015 cm 1530 cm





Available P
(mg kg1)

Available K
(mg kg1)

015 cm 1530 cm

015 cm 1530 cm





Total N (%)

Organic matter (%)

015 cm 1530 cm 015 cm 1530 cm





Means not sharing a letter in common differ signicantly at 5% probability level by LSD test.

2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

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A. Khaliq et al.

[30]. Liu et al. [30] reported that non-ooded rice mulched with wheat
straw had signicantly lower weed biomass (1.3 t ha1) than plots
without mulch (4.4 t ha1) in a ricewheat cropping system of
Southwestern China. Contrarily, Pleasant et al. [31] concluded that
mulching with crop residues had a negligible effect on weed growth
and residue incorporation resulted in a higher crop yield in a ricebased cropping system. In the present study, contradictions with
previous reports regarding rice grain yield might have originated
from the different rice cultivars, variable weed species compositions
and their infestation levels, altered soil moisture regimes, and
different agro-climatic conditions. The effectiveness of WRB in
retarding weed growth more than WSI was presumably due to the
loss of viable weed seeds lying on the soil surface due to burning. The
increased weed burden and pest incidence following residue
incorporation is recognized as the crucial limiting factor [3].
Although ZT has been reported as an effective measure to reduce
weed burden in wheat [4, 32], its usefulness in managing weeds
under DSR system appears limited as evident from our data on weed
growth (Tab. 3). Recently, Mishra and Singh [33] pointed out that ZT
averted weed growth in wheat crop, however, it increased the
density of grassy and sedge weeds in rice. A considerable increase in
the densities of both grassy and broad-leaved weed species in DSR
under ZT has been documented in the past [34]. A massive weed
infestation observed in various treatments warrants the need of
supplemental weed control in DSR while practicing wheat residue
management in rice.
A decrease in soil pH observed after TPR might be due to the
tendency of soil to convert its pH to a neutral range due to the
accumulation of organic acids and the reduction of iron and
manganese [20]. Similarly, Ponnamperuma [35] reported that the pH
of an alkaline soil was reduced from 8.1 to 7.3 upon submergence,
presumably because of the dilution of H and Na. Slight decreases
of soil pH after wheat straw amendment has also been reported
elsewhere [36]. Straw incorporation led to a decreased conductivity
of an alkaline soil [37]. An increase in available P after TPR might be
due to the dissolution of P [38]. Under ooded soils, P availability is
generally increased because of the conversion of insoluble ferric
phosphate to the ferrous form and hydrolysis of iron and aluminum
phosphates. Submergence conditions in TPR also improved soil K
availability with respect to its initial value recorded, and these
ndings are in line with Sahrawat [39]. The results regarding
available P are comparable with those of Sharma et al. [40] who
reported an increased P availability when wheat residues were
incorporated in rice elds. TPR generally favors the accumulation of
N and organic matter, although reduction products can be toxic. ZT
causes an increase in organic matter build up due to enhanced
microbial activity due to congenial micro-climate. Crop residue
amendment also increases N availability in soil. Nevertheless, less
available N under SMWR, WRI, WRB, and SS was observed in the
present study, which might be due to the uptake of N by rice crop as
well as N leaching. Besides these factors, substantial weed growth in
these plots might also have competed for N, although this aspect was
not directly measured in the present study.

5 Conclusions

improvement of soil health, although N and organic matter was

higher under ZT. Nevertheless, ZT and SS treatments hastened weed
growth and consequently recorded lower rice yields. Future studies
should consider the dynamics of micronutrients into soil under
different residue management options in DSR. Moreover, N and
weed management under different residue management options
also remain as germane issues to be researched.
The authors have declared no conicts of interest.

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