Improvement effect of nitrogen fertilizer and plant density on wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) seed deterioration and yield
In order to study the effect of seed deterioration, plant density and nitrogen fertilizer application on yield, yield components and some
qualitative traits of wheat, a field experiment was conducted in Golestan province of Iran, as split factorial in the randomized complete
block design, with four replications in two growing seasons, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. The experimental treatments included seed
quality at 4 levels (control, 15, 30, and 45 hours of accelerated deterioration), plant density at two levels (350 and 420 plants/m
) and nitrogen consumption at 3 levels (recommended rate, 15 and 30 percentages higher than the recommended rate, i.e., 125, 143.75, and
162.5 kg N fertilizer ha, respectively). All quantitative traits (plant height, spike length, number of seeds per spike, number of spikelets
per spike, weight of 1000 seed, grain yield, straw yield, biological yield and harvest index) and quality traits (yield and protein content,
nitrogen content, yield and starch content) were significantly different in different years. Application of recommended rate of nitrogen
fertilizer in the first and the second year resulted in the highest average of number of seeds per spike and spike length. The highest
grain yield was achieved in the recommended and 30% higher than the recommended application rate of nitrogen fertilizer (4061.9 and
4166.3 kg/ha, respectively) in the second year. Seed deterioration caused a significant reduction in yield and the yield components, so
the highest level of seed deteriorations in the first and the second years decreased 34.11 and 22.63% of the grain yield compared to
the control treatment. The highest protein content was achieved in the second year with the application of nitrogen 30% higher than the
recommended rate (with a mean of 623.6 kg/ha), which increased by about 23% compared to the overall average. Seed deterioration
reduced the starch content, so that the highest mean was in non-deterioration in the second year (68.13%), which increased by 10%
compared with that of the overall average. The lowest starch content was achieved at the highest level of deterioration (45 hours) in the
first year (55.63%). In general, the results indicated that seed deterioration had negative effects on quantitative and some qualitative
traits, but the application of more nitrogen fertilizer and higher plant density reduced the negative effects of deterioration and improved
grain yield and quality.
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