Nitrogen is the element with the greatest influence on plant production and on protein content in the case of grain crops. Nevertheless, nitrogen over-fertilization produces environmental problems such as water pollution and global warming, which has led to the declaration of vulnerable zones to nitrate pollution in the European Union and to the adhesion of many countries to the Kyoto protocol. In the case of wheat there is a demand for producing quality grain, which is primed with a bonus price. Under these both economical and environmental circumstances, arose the need for a rational system of nitrogen fertilization which enabled the optimization of nitrogen use under the specific edaphoclimatic of Northern Spain. In order to cope with this objective a net of nitrogen fertilization assays was established by means of which a series of fertilization strategies together with some associated diagnosis tools were evaluated. Thus, N losses occurring both by nitrate leaching and by N2O emissions to the atmosphere were quantified, as well as plant N extractions regarding the different nitrogen fertilizer treatments applied.
Part of the book: Global Wheat Production