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Enhanced nitrogen management strategies for winter wheat production in the Canadian prairies

B.L. Beres, R.J. Graf, R.B. Irvine, J.T. O'Donovan, K.N. Harker, E.N. Johnson, S. Brandt, X. Hao, B.W. Thomas, T.K. Turkington, and F.C. Stevenso. 2018.


To address knowledge gaps around enhanced efficiency urea fertilizer efficacy for nitrogen (N) management, a study was designed to improve integrated nutrient management systems for western Canadian winter wheat producers. Three factors were included in Experiment 1: (i) urea type [urea, urea urease inhibitor-Agrotain ® ; urea urease and nitrification inhibitor-SuperU® , polymer-coated urea-Environmentally Smart Nitrogen® (ESN® ), and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN)], (ii) application method (side-band vs. spring-broadcast vs. 50% side-band: 50% spring-broadcast), and (iii) cultivar (AC Radiant hard red win- ter wheat vs. CDC Ptarmigan soft white winter wheat). The Agrotain® and CDC Ptarmigan treatments were removed in Experiment 2 to allow for additional application methods: (i) fall side-band, (ii) 50% side-band - 50% late fall broadcast, (iii) 50% side-band - 50% early spring broadcast, (iv) 50% side-band -50% mid-spring broadcast, and (v) 50% side-band -50% late spring broadcast. CDC Ptarmigan produced superior grain yield and N utilization over AC Radiant. Grain yield and protein content were influenced by N form and application method. Split applications of N usually provided the maximum yield and protein, particularly with Agrotain® or SuperU® . An exception to the poor fall-application results was the SuperU ® treatments, which produced similar yield to the highest-yielding treatments. The results suggest that split applications of N might be most efficient for yield and protein optimization when combined with an enhanced efficiency urea product, particularly with urease or urease nitrification inhibitors, and if the majority of N is applied in spring.

Key Words

nitrogen, grain protein, Agrotain, SuperU® , ESN® , UAN®, nitrogen recovery.