RESPONSE OF SPRING BARLEY TO FOLIAR FERTILIZATION WITH Cu AND Mn
Background. Spring barley grain yield and chemical composition depend on mineral fertilization as well as soil and climatic conditions during plant growth. It is especially important to provide fertilization with microelements that are connected with photosynthesis and respiration rate. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of foliar fertilization with manganese and copper on grain yield and its components, chlorophyll content in leaves, selected chlorophyll fluorescence indexes, leaf area index (LAI) and the chemical composition of grain in 3 spring barley fodder cultivars and 1 malting cultivar.
Material and methods. The field experiment was carried out during 2014‒2016 at the Experimental Station for Variety Testing in Dukla (49o55’ N; 21o68’ E), in a split-plot design in 4 repetitions. The study factors were: 4 spring barley cultivars and foliar feeding (control, Cu and Mn).
Results. The foliar fertilizers used in the experiment increased grain yield, ear density, number of grains per ear and 1000 grain weight. The content of chlorophyll in subflag leaves was usually higher in cultivars fertilized with copper compared to manganese, with only the cultivar Suweren having an inverse relationship. Copper application favorably increased the value of the PSII functioning index both compared to the control and to fertilization with manganese. The LAI index was dependent on the cultivar and the foliar feeding.
A slight tendency to a higher content of total protein and raw ash on plants fertilized with foliar micronutrients was observed. A larger increase of these contents in comparison to the control was found after the application of copper than of manganese.
Conclusion. Spring barley yield, yield structure components, the relative content of chlorophyll in the leaves, LAI index and chemical composition of grain depended on the weather conditions during the plant growing periods. Foliar feeding with manganese resulted in an increase in grain yield and 1000 grain mass when compared to foliar feeding with copper. Copper fertilization resulted in a greater increase in the relative content of chlorophyll in the leaves and a higher content of total protein and crude ash in the grain compared to manganese fertilization. A greater increase in the LAI index compared to the control was observed in plants fertilized with manganese rather than with copper.