Site-factor Influence on Barley Response to Fertilizer in On-farm Trials in Northern Syria: Descriptive and Predictive Models
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Michael Jones, A. Wahbi. (3/10/2008). Site-factor Influence on Barley Response to Fertilizer in On-farm Trials in Northern Syria: Descriptive and Predictive Models. Experimental Agriculture, 28 (1), pp. 63-87.
The effects of site and rate of application of fertilizer on the grain and straw production of barley were investigated in 75 trials on representative farmers' fields. Grain and straw production were strongly but curvilinearly correlated with growth-period rainfall over the range 136–568 mm, almost irrespective of soil type, previous crop or fertilizer rate, and responded positively to applied nitrogen and/or phosphorus in 74 of the trials. Responses to nitrogen increased and those to phosphorus decreased with increasing rainfall. Yields tended to be lower but responses to nitrogen were higher where barley followed barley and were influenced by the availability of phosphate and mineral nitrogen in the soil at planting time. These results are summarized in regression equations, which express yield quadratically in terms of fertilizer rates, seasonal rainfall and their interactions over the full 75-trial data set and within representative sub-sets. The wide differences in crop response to fertilizer highlight the problem of recommending fertilizer rates for a low and variable rainfall environment. Simple second-order multiple regressions for different geographical areas, rainfall zones, crop rotations etc., based on mean rainfall values, account for around 40% of the variance in yield response to nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer; only a small proportion of the remaining variance appears attributable to rainfall variability. Alternatively, yield may be expressed as a function of fertilizer rate and rainfall using rainfall probability values derived from long-term records. This can be used to estimate the probabilities of predetermined yield responses for specified sites and fertilizer rates and to produce maps of those probabilities.
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