Winter wheat agronomic traits and nitrate leaching under variable nitrogen fertilization

https://doi.org/10.17221/188/2014-PSECitation:Sestak I., Mesic M., Zgorelec Z., Kisic I., Basic F. (2014): Winter wheat agronomic traits and nitrate leaching under variable nitrogen fertilization. Plant Soil Environ., 60: 394-400.
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In the long-term field trial on an arable dystric Stagnosols, winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grain yield, nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) in lysimeter water were compared under treatments of 0, 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300 kg/ha of mineral nitrogen (N) during the growth years 1996/97, 1999/00, 2002/03 and 2005/06. Year properties significantly influenced N availability resulting in different responses of grain yield and NUE under variable treatments. Grain yield showed strong significant correlation with the rainfall accumulated from March to May (r = 0.77). In the case of a dry year 2003, winter wheat yield and NUE were adversely influenced by unfavourable climatic conditions. The optimal response of yield and NUE to increasing mineral N rates was found at the amount of 150–200 kg N/ha. Very strong significant correlation between the total amount of leached NO3-N and NUE was found for periods 1999/00 and 2005/06 where, in terms of increasing N levels, lower NUE conditioned higher NO3-N leaching (r = 0.91 and r = 0.94, respectively). According to the shallow depth of groundwater and installation of drainage systems, there is still a risk of freshwater contamination by nitrates if the N rates higher than 200 kg/ha were applied.
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