TILLAGE PRACTICES AND NITROGEN APPLICATION INFLUENCED SOIL PHYSICAL PROPERTIES AND WHEAT PRODUCTION
Tillage practice and N management was hypothesized to play a significant role in crop production by influencing soil physical properties. Present field experiment was conducted to assess the effect of different tillage practices and nitrogen rates on soil physical properties and growth of wheat crop. Three tillage practices [conventional (four ploughing + one planking); reduced (two ploughing + one planking); and zero (no ploughing and no planking)] and four N rates [control; 75 kg N ha−1; 150 kg N ha−1; and 200 kg N ha−1] were imposed in all possible combinations in a split plot randomized complete block design. Tillage practices significantly affected grain and straw yields with maximum yields were achieved in conventional tillage than reduced and zero tillage practices. Application of N also significantly affected grain and straw yields. Maximum grain yield was recorded when either 150or 200 kg N was applied ha−1 under conventional tillage. Root growth was also influenced by tillage practices and it was increased with increasing tillage intensity. Nitrogen application significantly increased root length up to recommended rate. Maximum N in seed and straw was observed under conventional tillage and it increased with increasing N rates. Soil properties such as bulk density, total porosity and organic C were also significantly affected by different tillage practices with maximum values at conventional tillage practice. It is concluded that conventional tillage improved crop yield as compared to zero tillage and a rate of 150 kg N ha−1 is suitable for optimum yield with the said tillage practice. The results might vary in long term experiments; therefore, further investigations are required to elaborate these findings.