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Crop Science Abstract -

Fallow Management and Nitrogen Fertilizer Influence Winter Wheat Kernel Hardness


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 39 No. 2, p. 448-452
    Received: May 18, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): dlyon@unl.edu
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  1. Drew J. Lyon  and
  2. David R. Shelton
  1. P anhandle Research and Extension Center, 4502 Ave. I, Scottsbluff, NE 69361
    1 54 Keim Hall, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583-0915



Kernel hardness is an important grain attribute for wheat (Triticum aestivurn L.) quality and marketing in the USA. The objective of this study was to characterize the effects of fallow management — moldboard plow (plow), subtillage (subtill), and no-tillage (no-till) — and N fertilizer (0 and 45 kg N ha−1) on winter wheat kernel hardness, as measured by the Single Kernel Characterization System (SKCS). Rainfed field studies were conducted with ‘Siouxland’ hard red winter wheat from 1995 to 1997 on an Alliance silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, mesic Aridic Argiustoll) near Sidney, NE. In 1995 and 1996, the kernel hardness index was increased from a 2-yr average of 46.0 to 55.2 by the addition of 45 kg N ha−1, but N fertilizer treatment had no effect on kernel hardness in 1997 when the average kernel hardness index was 72.9. The effect of fallow management on kernel hardness varied from year to year. Kernel hardness was positively correlated with grain protein in 1995 (r = 0.93) and 1996 (r = 0.94), but no meaningful relationship was observed in 1997. Half of the grain samples analyzed by the SKCS in 1995 and 1996 were classified as either soft or mixed wheat. This study suggests that kernel hardness is affected by a number of factors beyond genetics including N management, tillage system, pest infestations, environment, and their interaction. Growers may find that meeting proposed new grain standards is more complex than merely selecting the right cultivar.

Journal Series no. 12246 of the University of Nebraska Agricultural Research Division.

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