of China Australia Food Security Cooperation Initiative (CAFSCI)

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Improving the management of water and nitrogen fertiliser for agricultural profitability, water quality and reduced nitrous oxide emissions in China and Australia

Overview of Project

Project Background and Objectives

In China irrigated cropping demands careful management of water resources and other inputs. Wheat and maize are the two main irrigated crops grown in western provinces. Water use efficiency in these areas is often low despite water being a critical resource. The intensive nature of the cropping that is practised demands the use of fertilisers. Nitrogen fertiliser is the main type used but, as with water, its use is often inefficient and wasteful. The combination of water used inefficiently with more fertiliser than is needed creates environmental problems, beginning with nitrogen-rich runoff. Volatilisation of ammonia contributes to nitrogen loss, in turn requiring more fertiliser use. This also results in greenhouse gas emissions.

A Water and Nitrogen Management Model (WNMM) developed in past ACIAR research should help determine changes needed to improve current management practices. By working with the model and its associated decision support system in two AusAID projects in Inner Mongolia and Hebei provinces, better practices will be identified and then disseminated to farmers through the existing project channels.

The project is improving the management of water and N fertiliser to increase farm incomes, improve environmental quality and reduce N2O emissions from agriculture. The systems to be studied are irrigated maize and wheat cropping systems and intensive vegetable farms in the western Yellow River basin of northern China, and intensive irrigated pasture and maize, and rain-fed wheat systems in Australia."

Project Dates

01 Apr 2005 - 30 Jun 2010


University of Melbourne - Australia
Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences - China
Chinese Academy of Sciences - China
Cardno Acil Pty Ltd. - China Office - Australia
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences - China
China Agricultural University - China


Dr Deli Chen



03 8344 8148

Launch Website