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Factors Affecting Wheat Growth And Yield Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 3806 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Continuous use of inorganic fertilizers affects the soil structure and cause environmental pollutions. Sustainable agriculture is one that produces abundant food without depleting the earth’s resources or polluting its environment. Organic farming provides several benefits to the growers. It reduces production cost and it is an environmentally friendly method of cultivation. Addition of organic fertilizers improves soil structure and enhances activities of useful soil organisms. Agricultural commodities resulted from organic cultivation are good for human health. Organic farming system includes semi organic farming system (low external input) as one alternative for sustainable agriculture. This study will be conducted to evaluate the growth and yield of wheat as affected by integrated nutrients (Organic FYM + Inorganic NPK) and drought stress. In the experiment wheat cultivar (sehar-2006) will be sown in field plots. Treatments included 50% FYM + 50% Inorganic (NPK); 75% FYM + 25% Inorganic (NPK); 100% FYM; 100% Inorganic (NPK) will be applied. The field plots maintained at 25mm, 50mm and 75mm water deficit; while recommended dose of both organic and inorganic nutrients applied will be maintained as control. The experiment will be conducted following randomized complete block design with split plot arrangement and three replications. During the course of investigation, observations on stand establishment, morphological traits, yield related traits will be recorded following standard procedures. Data will be analyzed by analysis of variance technique using the computer statistical program MSTAT-C.

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Agriculture remains the key sector for the economic development for most developing countries. It is critically important for ensuring food security, alleviating poverty and conserving the vital natural resources that the world’s present and future generations will be entirely dependent upon for their survival and well-being (Rothschild, 1998). Use of chemical fertilizers alone does not sustain productivity under continuous intensive cropping, whereas inclusion of organic materials improves physical soil properties (Benbi et al., 1998), builds up soil fertility and increases crop yield (Yaduvanshi, 2003). Continuous usage of inorganic fertilizer affects soil structure. Hence, organic manures can serve as alternative to mineral fertilizers as reported by Naeem et al. (2006) for improving soil structure (Dauda et al., 2008) and microbial biomass (Suresh et al., 2004).

Wheat (Triticum aestivum) is one of the most important cereal crops; about 21% of the world’s food depends on the wheat crop, which grows on 200 million hectares of farmland worldwide (http://www.fao.org). The synthetic fertilizers are harmful for soil and aerial environment, because the inorganic fertilizers mainly contain major nutrients NPK in large quantities and are neglecting the use of organic manures and biofertilizers and hence have paved the way for deterioration of soil health and in turn ill-effects on plants, human being and livestock (Choudhry, 2005). Most of the soil applied fertilizers (nitrogenous), leach down below the root zone or into the ground water, which pollute the ground water causing diseases mainly “Methemoglobinemia” (Choudhry, 2005).

As the world water supply is declining, drought is also threatening the world food security. Drought-induced yield losses perhaps exceed the loss from all other causes, as both severity and duration of stress are critical (Farooq et al., 2009a). Drought stress reduces crop growth rate and yield regardless of the growth stage at which it occurs in arable crops (Siddique et al., 2000; Atteya, 2003).

The efficient and sustainable cycling of nutrients in an agro-ecosystem can improve crop performance, but achieving this goal is an important challenge for modern agriculture (Cassman, 1999). In order to develop the high intensive agriculture, more chemical fertilizers are applied to the soil that results in soil degeneration and environment deterioration. Application of organic manure combined with chemical fertilizer is an important approach to maintaining and improving the soil fertility, and increasing fertilizer use efficiency. Hence it is very useful to study the effect of application of organic manure combined with chemical fertilizer on the nutrient absorption, soil fertility change, and reduction of fertilizer loss, which have been the research focuses all over the world (Reganold, 1995; Conacher J and Conacher A, 1998; Liu et al., 1996).

Application of organic manure combined with chemical fertilizer could maintain the soil nutrients balance amend soil physical and chemical properties, increase the soil organic matter and nutrient availability, decrease fertilizer loss rate, and then enhance soil fertility and ecosystem productivity (Conacher J and Conacher A, 1998; Zhou and Yang, 1992; He and Wang, 1989). Though role of farmyard manure integrated with inorganic fertilizers under drought stress condition in wheat need to be explored according to present need of sustainable farming system. It is hypothesized that integrated nutrients application of farmyard manure and inorganic nutrients may help improve resistance in wheat against drought and increase yield.


Cereals are an important dietary protein source throughout the world, because they constitute the main protein and energy supply in most countries (Bos et al., 2005). Wheat is one of the major cereal crops with a unique protein, which is consumed by humans and is grown around the world in diverse environments. Wheat is the world’s second most important cereal crop and an important component of the human diet, particularly in developing countries (Salekdeh Komatsu, 2007). The use of chemical fertilizers has been increased worldwide for cereal production (Abril et al., 2007) due to availability of inexpensive fertilizers (Graham and Vance, 2000). The continued use of chemical fertilizers causes health and environmental hazards such as ground and surface water pollution by nitrate leaching (Pimentel, 1996). So, reducing the amount of nitrogen fertilizers applied to the field without a nitrogen deficiency will be the main challenge in field management.

The primary function of soil productivity and fertility restoration through fallow is less effective since intensive cropping is now more common. The use of inorganic fertilizers alone has not been helpful under intensive agriculture because it aggravates soil degradation (Sharma and Mittra, 1991. It is well known that soil fertility is usually re¬‚ected by the status of soil nutrients and water together in an integrated system (Zheng et al., 2002). The quantity of soil organic matter depends on the quantity of organic material which can be introduced into the soil either by natural returns through roots, stubbles, sloughed-off root nodules and root exudates or by artificial application in the form of organic manure which can otherwise be called organic fertilizer (Agboola and Omueti, 1982).

In the current scenario of water scarcity, droughts during the main cropping season in tropical and subtropical regions are thought to become more likely in the near future, and will have dangerous effects on human societies (Funk et al., 2008, Lobell et al., 2008). The drop in precipitation of up to 10% in South Asia by 2030, accompanied by decreases in rice and wheat yields of about 5% (Lobell et al., 2008). In a recent meeting at Stanford University, a group of experts including crop scientists from seed companies – concluded as part of their recommendations that “particularly for managing moisture stress in rain-fed systems, agronomy may well offer even greater potential bene¬ts than improved crop varieties” (Lobell, 2009). De¬cits of soil water often have substantially negative impacts on the growth and development of major crops such as spring wheat (Lecoeur and Sinclair, 1996; Asseng et al., 1998). However, crop yields are not necessarily decreased with a moderate level of water de¬cit under irrigation conditions (Zhang et al., 1998).

Addition of farmyard manure with half the recommended mineral N produced wheat yield similar to that produced by the full recommended dose of mineral N (Ahmad et al., 2002). Cultivation with and without organic and inorganic sources of nutrients applied differently for a long period may have an impact on the regeneration and rejuvenation of soil structure (Sharma and Bhushan, 2001). Increased utilization of organic soil amendments as a nutrient source for plant production would therefore deliver both agronomic and environmental bene¬ts (Stockdale et al., 2002). Wheat grains have lower protein content (Gooding et al., 1993; Poutala et al., 1994; Woese et al., 1997) and a smaller loaf volume (Dlouhy, 1981) for bread made from organically grown wheat compared with conventionally grown wheat. The application of farmyard manure meets N requirement provides micronutrients and modifies soil physical behavior (Larson and Clapp, 1984) and thus favours wheat production. Moreover, use of farmyard manure not only acts as a source of N and other nutrients but also increases the efficiency of applied nitrogen (Sarvanan et al., 1987).

Organic matter determines the fertility and nutrient status of a soil. Most of the tropical and sub-tropical regions including Pakistan are deficient in organic matter. The maintenance of soil organic matter around 2.5 to 3.0 % is desirable for satisfactory crop production. A good soil should have organic matter content of about 2.5% (BARC 1997). Use of judicious combination of organic and inorganic fertilizer is very important for tropical country (Khan et al., 1986) like Pakistan; this will ultimately economize fertilizer use and maintain soil productivity and grain quality.

Positive effects of organic waste on soil structure, aggregate stability and water holding capacity were reported in several studies (Jedidi et al., 2004; Odlare et al., 2008; Shen and Shen 2001; Wells et al., 2000). Furthermore, organic manure has a high nutritional value, with high concentrations of especially nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, while the contamination by heavy metals and other toxic substances are very low (Asghar et al. 2006). Previous studies showed that the combination of organic manure with chemical fertilizer further enhanced the biomass and grain yield of crops (Sarwar et al., 2007; Sarwar et al., 2008; Cheuk et al., 2003). Furthermore, positive changes have been reported in the quality of wheat flour, because of increasing the amount of gluten after organic manure treatment (Gopinath et al., 2008).

The above review concludes that organic nutrients (farmyard manure) integrated with inorganic fertilizers may be employed to increase the yield of wheat and make them ready for future water stress conditions.


General details

The proposed study will be conducted in Agronomic Research Area, Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. While the analytical work will be done in Agro Climatology lab, Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. The experiment will be laid out in RCBD split plot design with three replications.

Well rotten Farm Yard Manure (FYM) will be collected from livestock and dairy Farm, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad while inorganic fertilizer sources Urea , DAP and SOP for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium respectively will be collected from Agronomy Farm, University of Agriculture.

Experiment: Growth and Yield of wheat as affected by different levels of integrated nutrients and irrigation.

Seed of wheat cultivar Sehar-2006 will be sown in plots (1.5m x 6m) in open field conditions. At sowing time integrated nutrients 50% FYM + 50% Inorganic (NPK); 75% FYM + 25% Inorganic (NPK); 100% FYM; 100% Inorganic (NPK) will be applied. The plots maintained at 25mm, 50mm and 75mm water deficit, while recommended dose of both organic and inorganic nutrients applied will be maintained as control. The experiment will be finally harvested at maturity.


Data on following observations will be recorded during the course of experimentation.

A. Stand establishment

1. Time to start germination (days)

2. Germination index

3. Mean germination time (days)

4. Time for 50% germination (days)

5. Final germination percentage (%)

B. Morphological traits

1. Plant height (cm)

2. Plant fresh weight (g)

3. Plant dry weight (g)

4. Leaf area (cm2)

5. Number of tillers

6. Total dry matter

7. Crop growth rate (g m-2 d-1)

8. Leaf growth rate (g m-2 d-1)

C. Yield related traits

1. Number of fertile tillers

2. Spike length (cm)

3. Number of spikelets per spike

4. Number of grains per spike

5. 100-grains weight (g)

6. Biological yield (g/pot)

7. Grain yield (g/pot)

8. Harvest index (%)

Statistical analysis

Data collected on all parameters will be analyzed statistically by using Fisher’s Analysis of Variance Technique and least significantly difference (LSD) test at 5% probability level will be applied to compare the treatments’ means (Steel et al., 1997) using the computer statistical program MSTATC.


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