The results of 81 different crop management practices in spring barley grown in small-plot field trials on fertile soils in central Moravia were assessed during 2014–2016 with the aim to achieve the highest gross margin (GM – calculated as the difference between revenues and direct costs). GM was most affected by protein content in the grain below 12% corresponding to malting quality. Analyses identified greater determination level of non-linear relationships between stand structure elements and the content of nitrogen substances in the grain. This indicates that the probability of obtaining high quality malting barley is increased when a high level of sinks (number of grains/m2) corresponding to availability of sources, mainly water, is formed by optimal plant density (300–400/m2) and balanced combination of both structural elements of crop stand, i.e. – number of spikes per plant (2–4) and number of grains per spike (18–26). In case that the high level of sinks will be formed predominantly by one element, the risk of higher protein content in grain increases. This constitutes the requirement of early sowing and uniform, synchronized tillering and efficient use of nitrogen fertilizers.
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