This study aimed to compare standard and precision nitrogen (N) fertilization with variable rate technology (VRT) in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) by combining data of NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) from the Sentinel 2 satellite, grain yield mapping, and protein content. Precision N rates were calculated using simple linear models that can be easily used by non-specialists of precision agriculture, starting from widely available Sentinel 2 NDVI data. To remove the effects of not measured or unknown factors, the study area of about 14 hectares, located in Central Italy, was divided into 168 experimental units laid down in a randomized design. The first fertilization rate was the same for all experimental units (30 kg N ha−1). The second one was varied according to three different treatments: 1) a standard rate of 120 kg N ha−1 calculated by a common N balance; 2) a variable rate (60–120 kg N ha−1) calculated from NDVI using a linear model where the maximum rate was equal to the standard rate (Var-N-low); 3) a variable rate (90–150 kg N ha−1) calculated from NDVI using a linear model where the mean rate was equal to the standard rate (Var-N-high). Results indicate that differences between treatments in crop vegetation index, grain yield, and protein content were negligible and generally not significant. This evidence suggests that a low-N management approach, based on simple linear NDVI models and VRT, may considerably reduce the economic and environmental impact of N fertilization in winter wheat.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.