Effects of Nitrogen Fertilizer Rates on Growth, Yield Components and Yield of Food Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.): A Review

Barley is an important food crop in the highlands of different countries. In Ethiopia barley is grown mainly as a low input staple food crop in the higher altitudes, on steep slopes, eroded lands, or in moisture stress areas. Barley is the major cereal crop grown by subsistence farmers in the highlands mainly under rainfed conditions with minimum or no external inputs. Barley is produced mainly for human consumption and is one of the most important staple food crops. However, its productivity is constrained by a number of problems. Among these inadequate uses of N fertilizer the most important ones. The amount of nitrogen that a barley crop needs to maximize yield and quality will depend on the seasonal conditions, soil type, and rotational history of the soil as well as the potential yield of the crop. The rate of uptake and partition of N is largely determined by supply and demand during various stages of plant growth. Soil N supply, for example, must be high at tillering, stem elongation, booting, heading, and grain filling requiring a greater amount of the development and growth of its reproductive organs and for an enhanced and high accumulation of proteins in the kernel. Nitrogen is needed for the early tiller development of barley to set up the crop for high yield potential. Spilt N application had little effect on yield but decreased lodging and spike population with increased grain weight. Increased grain yield with increased in nitrogen level. However, increasing N fertility beyond a certain limit induced lodging and ultimately decreased grain yield and its components.

Author(s): Nuru Seid Tehulie and Haimanot Eskezia

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