Site-Specific Durum Wheat Quality and Its Relationship to Soil Properties in a Single Field in Northern New South Wales
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The use of Precision Agriculture techniques to investigate agronomically significant soil factors and their relationship to wheat quality on a site-specific basis, was conducted during the winter 1996 wheat season in response to the growing concerns associated with wheat quality in Australia. A field of durum wheat was selected in Northern New South Wales, in which wheat and soil samples were taken from sites located within the field with the help of a Global Positioning System (GPS).
Geostatistical methods were used to interpolate the data and produce maps of the field representing the spatial variability of all the soil and wheat properties. With the aid of these maps and empirical modeling techniques, relationships between the wheat and soil factors were determined.
Areas within the field with lower soil profile available water capacities, caused by a combination of coarser soil texture and lower organic carbon content, probably contributed to water stress during grain-fill, which interacted with soil nitrogen to give higher protein levels. These areas of the field had lower yields and smaller 1000-kernel weights. Protein quality was found not to be compromised by increasing protein concentrations which resulted from water stress.
The benefits of using precision agriculture techniques as a method for segregating wheat by protein at harvest to increase profits are described.
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