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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #378586

Research Project: Sustainable Agricultural Systems for the Northern Great Plains

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Title: Perennial forages influence mineral and protein concentrations in annual wheat cropping systems

item Clemensen, Andrea
item Grusak, Michael
item Duke, Sara
item Franco, Jose
item Hendrickson, John
item Liebig, Mark
item Roemmich, James
item Archer, David

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/25/2021
Publication Date: 4/5/2021
Citation: Clemensen, A.K., Grusak, M.A., Duke, S.E., Franco Jr, J.G., Hendrickson, J.R., Liebig, M.A., Roemmich, J.N., Archer, D.W. 2021. Perennial forages influence mineral and protein concentrations in annual wheat cropping systems. Crop Science. 61(3):2080-2089.

Interpretive Summary: There is increasing interest in the potential impact of agricultural land management on food nutritional quality. Few studies have attempted to make connections between food quality and land management practices. A no-till experiment in Mandan, ND looked at continuous annual fertilized spring wheat and unfertilized spring wheat planted following 2-5 years of perennial forages such as alfalfa and intermediate wheatgrass. We analyzed the wheat grain archive samples from the this study for minerals and protein to see if there was an influence on food quality. Protein concentration was greater when wheat followed alfalfa, but otherwise concentrations of protein and minerals in wheat grain were similar between a cropping system of continuous annual fertilized wheat, and wheat following perennial forages that received no fertilization. We also found that when wheat yield increased, protein and mineral concentration of zinc, sulfur, nickel, phosphorous, potassium, and magnesium decreased. Differences in mineral concentrations between years of harvest were generally greater than between cropping practices. This suggests that varying weather and environment also influences grain quality. These results are useful to producers and researchers in understanding effects and targeting management to increase nutrient content of wheat.

Technical Abstract: Agricultural land management may influence crop nutritional quality. However, few studies have explored potential connections between crop quality with different land management strategies. We analyzed mineral and protein concentrations in spring wheat grain (Triticum aestivum L.) archived samples from a study in Mandan, North Dakota conducted from 2006-2014. The aforementioned study introduced a perennial forage phase into an annual spring wheat cropping system and found yield benefits and enhanced soil parameters in perennial forage treatments. Here, we determined whether integrating a perennial forage phase into continuous wheat would impact crop nutritional quality by measuring wheat grain mineral and protein concentrations. Protein concentration was greater (p = 0.03) when wheat followed alfalfa and increased linearly after 2-5 years of established alfalfa. We observed comparable wheat grain protein and mineral concentrations between continuous annual fertilized wheat and unfertilized wheat following perennial forages. Negative correlations (p < 0.001) were observed between wheat grain yield and protein, Zn, S, Ni, P, K, and Mg concentrations. Discriminate multivariate analyses showed, with 96% predictive accuracy, differences in protein and mineral concentration were largely driven by year of wheat harvest. Differences between harvest years were likely due to timely precipitation at critical growth stage 3, during spikelet development. Study outcomes highlighted the important role of perennial forages and environmental factors to influence protein and mineral concentration in spring wheat grain.