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Timing and rates of nitrogen fertilizer application on wheat yield and lodging resistance

Wu, W., and B.L. Ma. 2016. Timing and rates of nitrogen fertilizer application on wheat yield and lodging resistance. Poster presentation at the joint 8th Canadian Workshop on Fusarium Head Blight and the 3rd Canadian Symposium on Wheat. Ottawa. Nov. 20-25.


Lodging, which is the permanent displacement of crop plants from vertical, is a leading cause of yield loss and quality reduction for wheat production. Nitrogen (N) management strategies are of importance to ensure optimum wheat yields when sustaining a high lodging resistance for wheat (Triticum spp.) production. Field experiment was conducted in Ottawa to determine the impact of different rates and timing of application of N fertiliser on wheat yield and lodging risk of two varieties, and to determined which kind of lodging (stem or root lodging) was more prevalent. Treatments included factorial combinations of five rates of N as urea (46% N) and timing of application (pre-plant only or preplant plus side-dressed applications). At maturity, the stems underwent a three point bending test, while the roots underwent a root lodging test and had their morphological traits analyzed. The results showed that side-dressed N application resulted in significant improvements in seed yield and lodging resistance over equivalent preplant-only applications. Wheat yield increased with increasing N rates, but the significant increases were only found between zero-N and N application treatments. Meanwhile, lodging risk significantly increased with increasing N rates due to an increase in self-weight moment and a decrease in stem bending strength. Root lodging was more prevalent than stem lodging. Present study implies that root lodging should be targeted as the priority to increase lodging resistance through breeding selection for a high rigidity root system, especially when plants was subject to high nitrogen condition in eastern Canada.

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