The role of supplemental irrigation and nitrogen in producing bread wheat in the highlands of Iran
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Ali Reza Tavakkoli, Theib Oweis. (15/3/2004). The role of supplemental irrigation and nitrogen in producing bread wheat in the highlands of Iran. Agricultural Water Management, 65 (3), pp. 225-236.
The West Asia and North Africa (WANA) region, with a Mediterranean climate type, has an increasing deficit in cereal production, especially bread wheat. Rainfed cropping in the highlands of this region coincides with the severely cold winter with mostly, snow from November to April. Cereal yields, are low and variable mainly as a result of inadequate and erratic seasonal rainfall and associated management factors, such as late sowing (or late crop emergence). In an area where water is limited, small amounts of supplemental irrigation (SI) water can make up for the deficits in seasonal rain and produce satisfactory and sustainable yields. This field study (1999–2002) on a deep clay silty soil in north west of Iran was conducted with four SI levels (rainfed, 1/3, 2/3 and full irrigation requirements) combined with different N rates (0, 30, 60, 90 and 120 kg ha−1) with one wheat variety (Sabalan). Yields of rainfed wheat varied with seasonal rainfall and its distribution. A delay in the crop emergence from October (SI treatment) to November (rainfed) consistently reduced yields. With irrigation, crop responses to nitrogen were generally significant up to 60 kg N ha−1. An addition of only limited irrigation (1/3 of full irrigation) significantly increased yields and maximized water use efficiency (WUE). Use efficiency for water and N was greatly increased by SI. Under deficit irrigation, maximum WUE would be achieved when 60 kg N ha−1 is combined with 1/3 of full SI. Early crop germination is essential to ensure adequate crop stand before the winter frost and to achieve high yield. Early emergence can be achieved by applying a small amount (40–50 mm) of SI after sowing. Thus, when limited SI is combined with appropriate management, wheat production can be substantially and consistently increased in this highland semi-arid zone.
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