Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

E. Sticksel, F.-X. Maidl, A. Ludwig and G. Fischbeck:

Yield of maize and winter wheat as affected by available water capacity and N-fertilization in dry years


In two dry years yield formation of maize and winter wheat was determined as affected by N-fertilization on soils of an available water capacity (awc) ranging between 30 mm and 240 mm in order to develop site specific N-fertilization strategies.

On soils with low awc maize reached highest yields (120 dt/ha up to 129 dt/ha) if the first N-application was applied at a plant height of 15 cm. A lower plant density stimulated yields on soils with low awc also. A starter fertilization > 60 kg N/ha, however, gave highest yield increases (> 0.44 dt/ha*mm nFK) with increasing awc.

Wheat reached highest yield (69 dt/ha) on soils with low awc and the highest yield increase with increasing awc (18.6 dt/ha*ln mm nFK) if moderate N-fertilization in early spring (30 kg N/ha) together with 60 kg N/ha in EC 30 were applied. A total amount of 160 kg N/ha was necessary over the whole range of the examined awc to achieve highest yields. Starter fertilization > 30 kg N/ha lowered yields.

Key words: Maize, winter wheat, nitrogen fertilizer, plant available water capacity; yield.