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Response of rainfed bread and durum wheat to source, level and timing of nitrogen fertilizer on two Ethiopian Vertisols: II. N uptake, recovery and efficiency

Abstract

In trials conducted at 2 highland Vertisol sites in Ethiopia in 1990 and 1991, 2 locally popular wheat cultivars, 1 spring bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and 1 durum wheat (T. durum Desf.), were supplied with nitrogen (N) fertilizer at 0, 60 and 120 kg N ha−1 in the form of large granular urea (LGU), standard urea prills or ammonium sulfate. N was applied all at sowing, all at mid-tillering or split-applied between these two stages (1/3:2/3). While durum wheat exhibited the highest N concentration in grain and straw, bread wheat, because of its higher productivity, resulted in a greater grain and total N uptake. In general, split application of N and use of LGU as N source enhanced grain and total N uptake, apparent N recovery and agronomic efficiency of N, particularly under severe water-logging stress. Where significant, the interactions among the experimental factors substantiated the superior responsiveness of the bread wheat cultivar to fertilizer N, and the beneficial effects of split N application and LGU as an N source. Split application of N tended to nullify the positive effects of LGU, presumably by approximating the delayed release of N achieved with LGU. Considering the potential benefits to Ethiopian peasant farmers and consumers, split application of N should be advocated, particularly on water-logged Vertisols; LGU could be an advantageous N source assuming a cost comparable to the conventional N source urea.

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Correspondence to D. G. Tanner.

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Geleto, T., Tanner, D.G., Mamo, T. et al. Response of rainfed bread and durum wheat to source, level and timing of nitrogen fertilizer on two Ethiopian Vertisols: II. N uptake, recovery and efficiency. Fertilizer Research 44, 195–204 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00750926

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Key words

  • Application timing
  • fertilizer effectiveness
  • N recovery
  • N source
  • N uptake
  • Triticum spp