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Agronomy 2016, 6(2), 29; doi:10.3390/agronomy6020029

Little Potential of Spring Wheat Genotypes as a Strategy to Reduce Nitrogen Leaching in Central Europe

1
Agroscope. Route de Duillier 50, Nyon 1260, Switzerland
2
Instituto de Investigaciones en Biociencias Agrícolas y Ambientales (INBA-CONICET), Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires C1417DSE, Argentina
3
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Universitätstrasse 2, Zürich CH-8092, Switzerland
4
Hellenic Agricultural Organization DEMETER, N.AG.RE.F.-Industrial and Forage Crops Institute, 1, Theophrastou Str. 41335, Larissa 41335, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mariangela Diacono, Francesco Montemurro and Peter Langridge
Received: 25 January 2016 / Revised: 15 April 2016 / Accepted: 25 April 2016 / Published: 9 May 2016

Abstract

Nitrogen (N) losses negatively impact groundwater quality. Spring wheat genotypes varying in N-fertilizer recovery were studied (by using lysimeters) for their potential to minimize NO3-N leaching during spring and summer, over a three-year period. Additionally, we examined to what extent root growth and NO3-N leaching explain the well-known difference found between apparent and isotopic N recovery. The genotypes were grown under low (2 g m−2) and high (27 g m−2) N fertilizer supply. On average, the apparent and isotopic recoveries of N fertilizer by wheat were 43% and 51%, respectively. The three genotypes varied in fertilizer N recovery but not in NO3-N leaching, which only accounted for 15% of the applied N fertilizer. The differences in N uptake, fertilizer N recovery and root growth among the genotypes were not associated with the leached NO3-N because root growth and N uptake were not well synchronized with NO3-N leaching. Already at stem elongation 70% to 98% of the season-long NO3-N leaching had already taken place. Thus, the ability to minimize in-season NO3-N leaching by using spring wheat genotypes with higher fertilizer N recovery was limited because maximum N leaching occurred in the early crop season.
Keywords: lysimeters; fertilizer N recovery; N uptake; root; minirhizotron lysimeters; fertilizer N recovery; N uptake; root; minirhizotron
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Herrera, J.M.; Noulas, C.; Stamp, P.; Pellet, D. Little Potential of Spring Wheat Genotypes as a Strategy to Reduce Nitrogen Leaching in Central Europe. Agronomy 2016, 6, 29.

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