Nitrogen and Water Stress Affect Winter Wheat Yield and Dough Quality

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Nitrogen recommendations designed to increase wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) yields may diminish wheat quality. By understanding fertility management impacts on quality, it may be possible to optimize N recommendations to sites and climates. The objective of this study was to quantify the combined and individual impacts of N and water stress on winter wheat grain yield, grain protein, dough quality, and water and N use efficiency. A field experiment using five N rates (ranging from 0 to 1.5 times the current university recommendation) and two water levels (adequate and deficient) was conducted in South Dakota in 2007 and 2008. Dough characteristics were measured using a farinograph. In 2007, soil N mineralization was high (192 kg N ha−1), supplemental water increased grain yield and grain N use efficiency (GNUE) by 25% and reduced yield loss due to N stress from 1141 to 480 kg ha−1, whereas relative to 0 N, the recommended N rate increased water use efficiency by 21% and reduced yield loss due to water stress from 737 to 481 kg ha−1. These benefits were achieved without a loss of dough quality. In 2008, N mineralization was low (99 kg N ha−1), water did not impact GNUE, and the adequate water treatment had lower grain protein (12.5 vs. 13.1 g kg−1) and arrival (3.3 vs. 4.3 min) and peak times (6.1 vs. 7.8 min) than the deficient water treatment. These findings suggest that the implementation of strategically applied N fertilizer may require improved estimates of N mineralization.

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Agronomy Journal





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