Comparison of the effect of nitrate and ammonium nitrogen on growth yield and yield components of spring wheat triticum aestivum cultivar manitou and barley hordeum vulgare cultivar conquest

Leyshon, A.J.; Campbell, C.A.; Warder, F.G.

Canadian Journal of Plant Science 60(4): 1063-1070


ISSN/ISBN: 0008-4220
Accession: 005013709

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The effects of NO3 and NH4 forms of N on the growth and yield of spring wheat and barley. Two growth-room experiments were carried out using spring wheat (T. aestivum. L. 'Manitou') in both experiments and barley (H. vulgare L. 'Conquest') in the 2nd. NO3 or NH4-N plus the nitrification inhibitor nitrapyrin were applied at rates from 23 to 360 kg N/ha. Temperatures were 27/ C (day/night) and soil moisture was maintained at between-0.05 and -1.0 bars by frequent watering. NO3-N-treated plants were taller, and had thicker stems and more spikelets/spike than NH4-N-treated plants. The NH4-N-treated plants produced more spikes and matured faster initially, although by anthesis stage there was little difference in maturity between the NO3- and NH4-N-treated plants. There was no differential effect of N source on total dry matter at maturity, although dry matter increased in proportion to N rate. Grain yield of the NH4-N-fed plants was higher than that of the NO3-N-fed plants, especially at the higher N rates. This was due primarily to the effect on number of spikes produced and secondarily on seed set. It is suspected that denitrification losses of N from the NO3-N-treated soil contributed to the differential response to the 2 sources, but there was circumstantial evidence to suggest that some of the difference may have been due to the inherent nature of the 2 sources which might have affected their ease of metabolism by the plant.