Effect of nitrogen fertilization on winter wheat yield and yield quality
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Wheat ( Triticum aestivum L.) is the most common cereal, which is grown in Latvia. Nowadays, farmers are trying to get high grain yields in line with food quality, at the same time trying to minimize production cos ts and to use environmentally friendly technologies. The objective of this experiment was to clarify the impact of nitrogen fertilization on winter wheat yield and yield quality under two soil tillage systems and after two forecrops. Trials were conducted at the Research and Study farm ‘Peterlauki’ of Latvia University of Agriculture (56 ° 30.658 ’ N and 23 ° 41.580 ’ E). Researched factors were (1) crop rotation (wheat/wheat and oilseed rape ( Brassica napus ssp. oleifera )/wheat), (2) soil tillage (traditional soil tillage with mould - board ploughing at a depth of 22 – 24 cm and reduced soil tillage with disc harrowing at a depth below 10 cm ), (3) nitrogen fertilizer rate (altogether eight rates: N0 or control, N60, N90, N120(90+30), N15 0 (90+60) , N180 (90+60+30) , N210 (90+70+50) , and N240 (120+60+60)), and (4) conditions of the growing seasons 2014/2015, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017. The results indicate that winter wheat yield has been significantly affected by soil tillage, nitrogen fertilizer rate ( p < 0.001) and forecrop ( p < 0.05). Three - year research confirmed significant yield increase until the nitrogen fertilizer rate N180. Significantly higher average grain yield was obtained under traditional soil tillage. Nitrogen fertilizer affected significantly all tested yield quality indicators ( p < 0.001) . Increase of nitrogen fertilizer rate secured significant increase of winter wheat grain quality indices, except starch content, after both forecrops and in both soil tillage variants. Values of yield quality indicators increased significantly enhancing N - rate from N150 up to N 210.