Influence of nitrogen fertilization on winter wheat rooting patterns and soil water extraction
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A partial excavation technique, called the profile wall method, was utilized in 1985 and 1986 to investigate effects of ammonium nitrate additions on rooting patterns of Norstar winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Additional nitrogen was found to increase root growth, especially at tillering. Increases in soil water extraction were measured at the same time indicating a positive relationship between root density and soil water utilization. Placement of the fertilizer in mid-row bands at seeding time did not change crop rooting patterns compared to spring broadcast nitrogen applications. Fall fertilization was actually less effective with respect to protein yield; broadcast applied treatments generally had higher grain yields and higher protein concentration. Roots of winter wheat grew to an average 120 cm depth. Nitrogen fertilization did not affect final root depth. Environmental factors appeared to be important in determining root depth. Soil moisture limitations were observed at several locations in 1986.
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