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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 86 No. 6, p. 1020-1025
    Received: Oct 19, 1992

    * Corresponding author(s): millerbc@wsuvml.csc.wsu.edu
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Optimizing Yield and Grain Protein in Soft White Winter Wheat with Split Nitrogen Applications

  1. Karen E. Sowers,
  2. Baird C. Miller  and
  3. William L. Pan
  1. Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA 99164-6420



Grain protein of soft white winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) produced in eastern Washington has increased above market-desired levels over the past decade, when subnormal precipitation and overfertilization contributed to excessive residual soil N levels. A field study was conducted over four site-years to (i) examine N effects on the yield-protein relationship of soft white winter wheat under high soil N conditions, (ii) determine if split N applications can maintain yield and reduce grain protein, and (iii) evaluate midseason grain analysis as a predictor final grain protein. Nitrogen rates ranged from 0 to 140 kg N ha−1; timing treatments were fall preplant N and spring topdressed or point-injected N. High yields (>5900 kg ha−1) were produced without fertilizer N, and yield responses to N ranged from 0 to 22%. Fall N < 56 kg N ha−1 increased yield in only one site-year; yields were reduced due to excess N fertilization in another site-year in conjunction with shallow N depletion and poor water extraction from deeper soil layers. In two of four site-years, yield increased with a 50% fall-50% spring point-injected N compared with 100% fall application at 84 kg total N ha−1. Protein >100 g kg−1 was produced in site-years where most soil N was depleted below the 90-cm depth; shallow N depletion was associated with lower protein. Grain N concentration at maturity was highly correlated with grain N concentration at the late milk and soft dough stages. Preharvest predictions of final grain protein may be useful in segregating grain at harvest for marketing purposes. Under high residual soil N levels, reduced N rates and split N applications between fall and spring can maintain high yields and reduce grain protein.

WSU Crop and Soil Sciences Dep. Paper no. 9201-67.

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