RESPONSE OF SUNFLOWER HYBRIDS TO DIFFERENT NITROGEN LEVELS FOR PHYSIOLOGICAL AND AGRONOMICAL TRAITS UNDER FIELD CONDITIONS
Doulat Baig*, Fida Mohammad Abbasi*, Habib Ahmed*, Maqsood Qamar** and Muhammad Ayub Khan**
Sunflower occupies main position among oil seed crops in Pakistan. Mostly indigenous sunflower hybrids are cultivated which give low achene and fodder yields. The issue related with these hybrids ascribed to lack of information about use of inputs and cultural practices. Judicious nitrogen use and suitable high yielding hybrid play key role in increasing sunflower productivity. Protein is the basic requirement of the metabolic processes for the vegetative, reproductive growth and yield of the crop. The protein is wholly dependent upon the amount of nitrogen fertilization available in soil for the plant use. A two year study was conducted in 2012 and 2013 at National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), Islamabad, Pakistan. The experiment was aimed to –1 –1 evaluate the effect of different nitrogen (N) levels (N = 0 kgha , N = 60 kgha , N = 0 1 2 –1 –1 –1 –1 80 kgha , N3 = 120 kgha , N4 = 180 kgha and N5 = 240 kgha ) on two sunflower hybrids, SMH-0907 and SMH-0917 to optimize the N levels for obtaining maximum yield on sustainable basis. Both hybrids were kept in the main plot while N levels in the sub plot in a randomized complete block design with three replications. -1 The results showed that the number of achene head , 100-achene weight and achene yield increased with increased N application. The increased levels of N -1 also enhanced the achene yield. The maximum achene yield (3170.8 kg ha ) was -1 -1 recorded at 180 kg N ha followed by 240 kg N ha . Minimum achene yield (2115 kg -1 ha ) was observed in control treatment (N ). Polynomial regression line showed 0 -1 that the rate of yield increase was higher up to 180 kg N ha and become slow -1 thereafter. The hybrid SMH-0907 produced more achene (2736 kg ha ) as compared -1 to the hybrid SMH-0917 (2694 kg ha ). Results revealed that economized application of different doses of N can boost up the yield in both sunflower hybrids SMH-0907 and SMH-0917. These findings could be helpful in rationalizing most valuable inputs such as nitrogen in sunflower crop. It can be deduced that the –1 application of 180 kg N ha can provide the best combination for good yield in sunflower crop under the prevailing humid conditions of Pakistan.