Effect Of Nitrogen Levels And Sowing Date On Growth And Yield Of Wheat (Triticum Aestivium L.) Varieties Grown At Different Elevations In Jebel Marra Highland

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Ahmed, Abdel-Samad Hassan
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Two field experiments were conducted at two sites for two seasons 2000/01 and 2001/02 at farmers fields to investigate the effect of nitrogen levels and sowing date on growth and yield of wheat varieties (Triticum aestivum, L.) grown at different elevations in Jebel Marra highlands under summer rainfed conditions. Two elevation levels (Trongtonga at 2800 m.a.s.l) and (Gorlambang at 2300 m.a.s.l) were chosen for the study. Three varieties of wheat (Debeira, El Neilian and local check (Donkey) were used as test varieties for both nitrogen X variety and sowing date X variety experiments. Nitrogen fertilizer was applied in the form of urea at the rate of 0, 20, 40 and 60 kgNha-1. Four sowing dates; early July, mid-July, early August and mid-August were tested. The results of the study showed that, nitrogen application significantly increased flag leaf area, plant height in both elevations. With regard to yield and yield components, a positive increase in grain and biomass yield was obtained as a result of nitrogen application. The pattern response of spikelets per spike, seed per spike, number of spike per m2 was similar to that of grain yield. Nitrogen fertilizer generally decreased the 1000 seed weight. Harvest index also decreased with increasing amount of nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen percentage of plant material at 50% anthesis and grain nitrogen percentage increased gradually with increasing nitrogen fertilizer. Generally, the early sown crop at early and mid-July, produced a higher grain and biomass yields, more spikelets, more seeds per spike and a greater number of spikes, per m2 compared to late sown crops. Late sowing resulted in a sharp reduction of 1000 seed weight and harvest index. Generally, the crop of high elevation site, revealed greater biomass yield, grain yield and yield components. With regard to duration of growth stages, results showed that, crop at low elevation site reached anthesis earlier and matured earlier due to acceleration of developmental stages as a results of warmer environment of low elevation site compared to high elevations. El Neilian variety was the earliest to reach 50% anthesis and produced higher grain and biomass yield and showed stability between sites. Donkey (the local variety of Jebel Marra area) was the latest to flower and gave the lowest yield and yield components.
June 2004