A field experiment was conducted in China during winter season of 2001–2002 to study the response of time of nitrogen application on two cultivars (Xiumei 3 and 92-11) of barley. Apart from basal dose of 40 kg N/ha, 110 kg N/ha was applied at tillering (T
) or in two equal splits at tillering and boot stages (T
) or at boot stage (T
). Cultivar 92-11 attained significantly lower plant height at boot stage and number of spikes/plant but took significantly more number of days to heading, registered significantly more chlorophyll content in leaves at different growth stages, produced significantly more number of grains/spike, grain weight/spike, single grain weight, N concentration at boot stage and consequently produced significantly higher grain yield (3764 kg/ha) than cultivar Xiumei 3 (3201 kg/ha). Application of nitrogen at boot stage significantly reduced the plant height at both stages, dry matter accumulation, days taken to heading, leaf chlorophyll content at boot stage, grains per spike, grain weight per spike and individual grain weight but recorded significantly higher chlorophyll content in leaves at heading stage and higher N content as compared to its application at tillering. Split application of nitrogen at tillering and boot stages also recorded significantly better growth and yield attributes, N concentration and grain yield than its application at boot stage alone but was at par with nitrogen applied at tillering except grain weight per spike. Consequently application of nitrogen at tillering or its split application at tillering and boot stages produced statistically similar (4052 and 3816 kg/ha, respectively) but significantly higher grain yield than its application at boot stage (2500 kg/ha).
The effect of time of nitrogen application and position of kernels in spike on kernel weight, protein content, β-amylase activity and β-glucan content were examined in two cultivars of barley. Cultivar 92-11 produced significantly bold kernels and lower β-glucan content with slightly lower protein content and higher β-amylase activity than cultivar Xiumei 3. Time of nitrogen application significantly influenced the quality parameters studied. Application of 110 kg N/ha at tillering produced significantly higher kernel weight and significantly lower protein content as well as β-glucan content as compared to its application made at boot stage. β-Amylase activity was also lowest in case of nitrogen applied at tillering stage. There were significant differences between two cultivars for quality parameters when kernels were selected from different spike positions or where specific plant part was removed at heading. The highest 1000-kernel weight was recorded in 92-11 (52.5%) with removal of side tillers and in Xiumei 3 (42.2%) from the middle portion of spike; whereas for protein content, opposite trend was obtained. β-Amylase activity in both cultivars was the highest when middle portion of spike was removed. The lowest β-glucan contents in 92-11 and Xiumei 3 were registered with removal of flag leaf and in Xiumei 3 with the removal of middle portion of spike.