Post-emergence application of liquid swine manure in east central Saskatchewan
In early 1997, the Prairie Protein Action Committee was established and one of its objectives was to identify ways to meet the increasing demand for wheat with specific protein quality and quantity (Fowler et al. 1998). The main areas of concern were low protein levels in western Canadian wheat and increased competition on the world market for high protein wheat. To address these concerns, one of the objectives was to identify research needs relating to the production and management of wheat protein. Protein quality can be enhanced by genetic improvement or by N fertility management. Among the main objectives in plant breeding programs are the need to increase yield and protein. However, the two traits have generally been found to be negatively related. This negative relationship may be as a result of dilution of the protein concentration as carbohydrates in the endosperm increase with yield. Thus, genetic improvement may have a small contribution toward enhancement of protein content in wheat. Hucl et al. (1998) found that less than 3% of variations in protein concentration in spring wheat was due to genetic variation, whereas over 80% of the variation was due to environmental effects, which include N fertility. Campbell et al. (1997) noted that in the Brown soil zone of Saskatchewan, 18% of the protein variation was due to N fertility. Within a cultivar, up to 99% of the variability in grain protein could be due to soil N variability (Fowler 1986). Hence, N fertility management is key to improving protein quality in wheat. Livestock manure application as a N source to boost yield and protein of wheat offers an alternative to chemical N fertilizers. There is opportunity to enhance protein levels in cereals and achieve protein premiums by delaying manure application and applying it post-emergent to cereals. Delayed manure application also helps widen the window of application and reduce manure application costs. Hence, the objective of this study was to determine the effects of low disturbance, post-emergent liquid swine manure injection on wheat protein and yield in east central Saskatchewan. This paper presents the results of the first two years of this three year study.
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