Late-season N application through foliar spraying is recognized as an efficient agronomic practice for improving grain quality in common wheat, although the major part of N is still supplied by soil fertilization. This study assessed the impact of various N doses entirely applied by repeated foliar sprayings on wheat growth, yield and quality, in comparison with conventional soil fertilization management with a recommended dose of 160 kg N ha1 as ammonium nitrate (C-M). Doses of 96, 104 and 120 kg N ha1 as both UAN (urea-ammonium-nitrate) and urea applied by foliar spraying were evaluated in a 2-year field trial in Northern Italy in a silty loam soil with 1.7% organic matter. Here, it was demonstrated that the canopy greenness was similar in all treatments, with slight grain yield increases by the lowest foliar N dose vs. C-M. The higher N foliar doses mainly improved the grain protein content and both high- and low-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GS, LMW-GS), particularly with urea. It is concluded that in our fertile soil, managing N fertilization exclusively through foliar spraying is feasible without compromising grain yield and ameliorating quality at the same time. Improved nutrient use efficiency and beneficial environmental effects are also expected by reducing the nitrogen load on the agricultural fields by 25–40%.
Comparing Soil vs. Foliar Nitrogen Supply of the Whole Fertilizer Dose in Common Wheat / Ferrari, Manuel; Dal Cortivo, Cristian; Panozzo, Anna; Barion, Giuseppe; Visioli, Giovanna; Giannelli, Gianluigi; Vamerali, Teofilo. - In: AGRONOMY. - ISSN 2073-4395. - 11:11(2021), p. 2138. [10.3390/agronomy11112138]
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