doi: 10.15389/agrobiology.2022.3.460eng

UDC: 633.1:631.559:631.671.1

The research was funded under the budget program 267 of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan (BR10764907 “Development of technologies for organic agriculture for growing crops, taking into account the specifics of the regions, digitalization and export”).



T.N. Danilova1 , L.K. Tabynbaeva2

1Agrophysical Research Institute, 14, Grazhdanskii prosp., St. Petersburg, 195220 Russia, e-mail (✉ corresponding author);
2.LLP Kazakh Scientific Research Institute of Arable Farming and Horticulture, 1, st. Erlepesov, Almaty Province, Karasay Region, Almalybak, 040909 Republic of Kazakhstan, e-mail

Danilova T.N.
Tabynbayeva L.K.

Received April 4, 2022

The use of water-absorbing hydrogels capable to regulate the soil water regime allows for a significant increase in crop production in arid and semi-arid climatic zones. Polyacrylamide and poly-acrylonitrile hydrogels cyclically (over several years) absorb and release moisture, so they are most effective in agriculture. This paper shows that three polymer gels of different origin have similar effect on the yield structure and productivity of grain crops compared under controlled soil drought and in field tests. Domestic gels had the greatest effect on the 1000-grain weight. The type of hydrogel (either sodium or potassium base) did not significantly influenced the yield structure parameters. This work aimed to evaluate grain crops’ productivity and yield structure as affected by polymer gels V-415 K and Ritin-10 (Russia) under simulated soil drought compared to the polymer Aquasorb (France) under field conditions of a zone of insufficient moisture. Microfield trials were performed on spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cv. Leningradsky in 2015, spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cv. Daria in 2016 and spring barley cv. Ataman using bottomless pots (Agrophysical Institute, Menkovsky branch, Leningrad Province) using pots without a bottom with an area of 0.075 m2 and a volume of 0.0025 m3. The pots were filled with sod-podzolic sandy loamy soil according to the soil horizons’ order. The treatments were a control (N90P90K90); N90P90K90 + Ritin-10 at 10-12 cm depth; N90P90K90 + V-415 K at 10-12 cm depth; N90P90K90 + Ritin-10 at 20-22 cm depth; N90P90K90 + V-415 K at 20-22 cm depth. The dose of each hydrogel was 4 g/m2, the seeding rate was 50 pcs/pot. Soil moisture in the pots was measured twice a week to calculate necessary watering rate. The effect of soil drought (55-60 % water holding capacity) was assessed from the tillering phase to full ripeness. The productivity of winter wheat (T. aestivum) cv. Steklovidnaya 24 as influenced by polymer gel Aquasorb (SNF s.a.s., France) was studied in the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2015-2017 (experimental fields of the Kazakh Research Institute of Agriculture and Plant Growing). Two doses of the absorbent (20 and 40 kg/ha) and their combination with nitrogen supplementation (N45) were tested. The total number of plants per pot (per 1 m2 in field trials), the number of productive plants, and productive bushiness coefficient, the ear length, the number of grains per ear, the grain mass per ear, and the 1000-grain weight were determined. The grain yield under a controlled “drought” when the hydrogels were introduced into the root layer (10-12 cm) differed slightly from the control (an increase by only 3-4 %). For the 20-22 cm depth, the yield exceeded the control by 25.0-27.7 % (р < 0.01). The hydrogels significantly influenced the yield structure parameters for productive bushiness coefficient, the number of grains per ear and the 1000-grain weight. With Ritin-10 hydrogel, the yield inversely correlated with the number of productive stems (r = -0.83), the number of grains per ear (r = -0.78) and the grain weight per ear (r = -0.78). With B-415 K, the correlation coefficients showed a close relationship between yield and tillering (r = 0.70), with the grain mass per ear (r = 0.74) and with the 1000-grain weight (r = 0.71). Under the simulated soil drought, the hydrogels had the greatest impact on the 1000-grain weight. Under field conditions of Kazakhstan, the yield of winter wheat largely depended on weather conditions. In a dry 2015, the hydrogel at a dose of 40 kg/ha with nitrogen fertilizers increased the crop yield by 6.6 c/ha compared to the control. The hydrogel together with nitrogen fertilizers also significantly (p < 0.05) increased the crop yield in a moderately wet 2016; in a wet 2017, the grain yield increased significantly (p < 0.01), up to 16.4-23.8% depending on the dose of the hydrogel. Aqusorb gel significantly affected all elements of yield structure. In the semi-arid period, when 20 kg/ha of Aquasorb hydrogel was applied, there was an inverse correlation between the yield and the grain mass per ear (r = -0.99) and the 1000-grain weight (r = -0.98). For a dosage of 40 kg/ha, there was a close correlation with the number of grains per ear (r = -0.99) and the grain mass per ear (r = -0.87). Wheat yield also had a close inverse relationship with the number of grains per ear (r = -0.83) when Aquasorb (20 or 40 kg/ha) was used with nitrogen fertilizers. In humid and moderately humid years, the dependence of yield on yield structure indicators is also strong (r = 0.84-0.99). Thus, the hydrogel introduced into the 10-12 cm soil layer dries out without watering and does not act as a water-retaining soil additive. A significant increase in the grain yield can be obtained by laying polymer gels to a depth of 20-22 cm after water-charging irrigation of the arable layer. In field conditions, during dry growing seasons, it is necessary to apply a high dose of hydrogel (40 kg/ha) in combination with nitrogen fertilizers. In moderately humid and humid growing seasons, a dose of 20 kg/ha is sufficient in combination with nitrogen fertilization.

Keywords: polymer gel, soil drought, water stress, barley, spring wheat, winter wheat, yield.



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