Forage and grain yields of dual-purpose triticale as influenced by the integrated use of Azotobacter chroococcum and mineral nitrogen fertilizer
The utilization of dual-purpose cereals is encouraged in the Mediterranean environments to fill a feed gap during the winter season. Triticale is a promising dual-purpose crop for forage and grain production. Studies on the variations in productivity and quality of dual-purpose triticale under variable fertilization management are scarce. This study was carried out during winter 2018/2019 and 2019/2020, in Northern Egypt, to evaluate the performance of triticale grown in dual-purpose and grain-only production systems under variable mineral N (mN) rates (zero, 25, 50, 75% of the recommended), accompanied with Azotobacter chroococcum (AC) seed inoculation, as well as 100% mN application without AC. The application of 50% mN with AC seed inoculation resulted in an average of 7.23, 7.27 t ha-1, forage and grain yields, respectively. Moreover, forage and grain crude protein reached 125.57, and 200.60 g kg-1, respectively. Forage fiber fractions were non-significantly variable among the fertilizer treatments. Azotobacter chroococcum seed inoculation, thus, allowed for the reduction of the used amount of mN to 50% without sacrificing the forage and grain yields and protein content. In the dual-purpose system, an average of 7.23 t ha-1 forage yield was obtained with little reduction in the grain yield (19% reduction in average). Meanwhile, grain CP content was higher in dual-purpose system (201.38 g kg-1) than in grain-only system (182.98 g kg-1). In similar conditions to the current study, it is recommended to expand the production of dual-purpose triticale in the winter while reducing mN fertilizer rate to 50% in combination with AC seed inoculation.
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