Intensive Wheat Production as Related to Nitrogen Fertilisation, Crop Protection and Soil Nitrogen: Experience in the Benelux.
Improvement in growing techniques over the past ten years has greatly increased the yield of winter wheat. The effects on grain yield of methods of applying nitrogen, the use of growth regulators and crop protection measures are discussed. Special attention has been paid to methods to assess the need for fertiliser nitrogen based on the determination of mineral soil nitrogen, inclusive of their possibilities and limitations.
In Belgium and the Netherlands at least 18,000-20,000 grains per m2 are required to obtain yields of 10 tonnes per ha. This can be achieved with 200-250 plants producing 500-600 ears per m2.
Though high input systems consistently give the highest grain yields, the financial returns appear to be hardly competitive with those of the so-called recommended systems. Flexible systems, adapted to the actual crop situation, are preferred to ‘blueprints’ or similar rigid systems. To enable the best use of cultural practices, simulation techniques as to the behaviour of soil nitrogen and the outbreak of fungal diseases and pests, like EPIPRE in the Netherlands will be indispensable. Meanwhile, to fill the gap between general and individual recommendations and to integrate the farmers’ experience, the use of so-called reference plots, including rates of fertiliser nitrogen, conducted by local advisors or farmer groups, can be of great help.
K Dilz, Institute for Soil Fertility, Haren, The Netherlands.
A Darwinkel, Research Station for Arable Farming and Field Production of Vegetables, Lelystad, The Netherlands.
R Boon, Soils Service of Belgium, Heverlee-Leuven, Belgium.
L M J Verstraeten, Catholic University of Leuven, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Heverlee-Leuven, Belgium.
32 Pages, 10 Figures, 13 Tables, 34 References.