Balance sheet method assessment for nitrogen fertilization in bread wheat: I. yield and quality
AbstractIn the European Union the production of high quality wheat is mainly located in the Mediterranean regions where the climatic conditions positively affect protein concentration in the grain. High quality wheat calls for proper management of nitrogen fertilization, thus there is a need to verify whether the limitations imposed by local governments on maximum rate of nitrogen fertilization admitted may affect bread making quality. Trials were conducted in fourteen environments (E) to study the effects of different nitrogen fertilizations on eight cultivars (C), belonging to four quality grades (Q). Nitrogen (N) was applied to crops according to three rates/modalities: N1 corresponding to the maximum rate admitted calculated according to a balance sheet method and distributed at the stage of spike initiation; N2 with 50 kg ha-1 of nitrogen more than N1, also distributed at the stage of spike initiation; N3 with 50 kg ha-1 of nitrogen more than N1 but distributed at the stage of flag leaf appearance. The effects of environment, nitrogen and cultivar were significant for grain yield, test weight, 1000 kernel weight, heading time, plant height and for quality traits (protein content and alveograph indices). The existence of variability among cultivars and quality grades in the response to rate and timing of nitrogen fertilization was demonstrated by the significance of NxC and NxQ interactions. Dry matter and nitrogen contents of plant at anthesis and at harvest were significantly affected by the main sources of variation. High quality cultivars yielded more grain of better quality with higher N rates (N2 and N3) as compared to the maximum rate of nitrogen admitted by the local government (N1). These results demonstrated that the adopted balance sheet method for the calculation of N requirements of wheat crop adversely affects the full potential expression of the cultivars belonging to superior bread making quality grades.
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Copyright (c) 2006 Maria Corbellini, Maurizio Perenzin, Gaetano Boggini, Gianni Bellocchi, Diego Scudellari, Mario Monotti
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