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Breaking up the dosage of fertilizer into three phases of application enhances the quality of wheat and limits its negative effects on the environment. This is the conclusion of the PhD thesis of University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU) researcher, Teresa Fuentes Mendizbal, presented at the Faculty of Science and Technology.
Wheat yields have increased over the decades, more concretely during the second half of the XX century when grain production per unit area doubled. This increase was boosted by genetic improvements in the crop, as well as by better agricultural practices amongst which is the use of nitrogenated fertilizers which has enabled enhancement not only in crop yield but also in the end quality of the wheat. Nevertheless, the use of nitrogenated fertilizers has had negative consequences for the environment, as plants only manage to incorporate about half of this substance, the rest filtering to subterranean waterbeds in the form of nitrates and which can be toxic for human consumption; or otherwise it is freed into the atmosphere in the form nitrogenated gases, such as ammonia.
Within this context, farmers are obliged to combine a number of different objectives: maximise crop yield, limit production costs and do this reducing the negative impact on the environment. Besides, the quality of the wheat obtained has to comply with market demands. In the case of flour wheat, employed in bread making, the quality is determined by its genetic configuration and the extant climatic conditions, although research undertaken to date reveal that a judicious handling/dosage of nitrogenated fertilizers has a positive influence on the quality of the grain.
In her PhD, entitled Physiology of wheat crop and grain quality under different regimes of nitrogenated fertilizers, UPV/EHU re
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