Intensive management of barley in Saskatchewan
Partyka, Eli Frank
Two experiments were conducted in barley to assess the feasibility of Intesive Cereal Managment (ICM) and to evaluate plant growth regulator (PGR) type, rate and time of application. The first experiment consisted of ten tests assessing ICM with three levels of N (0, 50 and 100 kg ha-1) above soil test recommendations, two levels of ethephon (0 and 0.24 kg ha-1) and two levels of propiconazole (0 and 0.125 kg ha-1). Varieties used in ICM tests were Bonanza, Samson, Leduc, Virden, Johnston and Heartland. The second experiment, comprised of nine tests, compared two PGRs (ethephon and ethephon + CCC) at two rates and two stages of application (ZGS 31-33 and ZGS 48-51). Varieties in the PGR experiment were Johnston, Leduc, Bonanza and Virden. Both experiments were conducted in 1986 and 1987 on dryland in the thinblack soil zone near Speers, Sask. and under irrigation in the dark brown soil zone near Outlook, Sask. In the ICM experiment, only one test resulted in a yield increase (13%) due to N addition above the soil test recommendation (50 kg N ha-1). This occurred in irrigated Leduc barley in 1987. There was no yield response to incremental increases of N in all other tests. Grain protein increases with higher levels of N were observed in all tests. There was an average 28% increase in harvested grain yield in five of the ICM tests when ethephon was used to control lodging. In the other four tests, where no lodging occurred, grain yield was unaffected by ethephon. Ethephon reduced crop height an average 10% in all tests and the number of kernels head-1 was reduced in seven tests. Samson barley was not as prone to lodging as the other varieties tested. Propiconazole increased grain yield by an average of 10% in Bonanza and Samson barley. Control of leaf diseases by propiconazole resulted in an increase in kernel mass and grain yield. In two of the nine PGR tests all PGRs depressed barley yield in the absence of lodging under dryland conditions. The PGRs in four out of the five irrigated experiments improved grain yield by an average of 56%. Where severe lodging occurred, late application of PGR resulted in higher yield increases than early application. PGRs reduced lodging and increased harvestable grain yield. PGRs significantly reduced crop heights in all tests. Certain ICM inputs such as PGRs to control lodging can be profitable. Positive yield response is more reliable under irrigation as compared to rain-fed systems. Financial profit from integration of N, PGR and fungicide is unlikely under prairie conditions. Current management practices of using N at levels recommended by the Saskatchewan Soil Testing Laboratory, choosing disease resistant cultivars and occasionally using PGRs and foliar fungicides under certain conditions are more profitable than adopting the entire ICM package.