During the two years with different climatic circumstances (2013 and 2016), we examined how the weather of the growing season, as well as nutrient supply affected the productivity of maize and the related income.
Our examinations were performed in 2013 and 2016, in a polyfactoral small plot long-term field experiment with four replications and a strip-plot design on calcareous chernozem soil with deep humus layer formed on loess under natural precipitation circumstances, using the same hybrids of ripening time FAO 360 and FAO 490.
In addition to the non-fertilised (control) treatment, the following ten treatments were used in the long-term field experiment. The following NPK proportions were used: 30:23:27, 60:46:54; 90:69:81; 120:92:108; 150:115:135, 60:184:216; 120:184:216; 180:184:216; 240:184:216; 300:184:216 kg NPK ha-1.
Under unfavourable climatic circumstances (2013), the average yield surplus of fertilisation was significantly higher (1.154 t ha-1, P<0.05) in the case of the lowest FAO hybrid. Under favourable climatic circumstances (2016), the average surplus difference of the 716 kg ha-1 fertilisation between the two hybrids of different FAO numbers was not significant on this outstanding chernozem soil.
In the drought year of 2013, the maize hybrid of shorter ripening time (FAO 360) responded to the low, 30:23:27 kg NPK ha-1 fertilisation treatment with a significant yield surplus (1.245 t ha-1, P<0.05). On the contrary, in 2016, when the climatic circumstances were favourable, there was significant yield surplus in the case of both hybrids. The yield surplus was 2.564 (P<0.001) (FAO 360) and 2.302 t ha-1 (P<0.001) (FAO 490), i.e., the observed yield increase was 29.7 and 27.6%, respectively.
In the dry crop year (2013), the treatments combinations with higher NPK dose (180:184:216 and 240:184:216 kg NPK ha-1) resulted in the significantly highest (P<0.05) yield in the case of both hybrids. Because of the more favourable weather circumstances in 2016, the treatment combination of 60:46:54 kg NPK ha-1 was shown to be significantly (P<0.05) successful in the case of both the FAO 360 and the FAO 490 hybrids.
In the dry year of 2013, the lower NPK kg ha-1 treatment combinations resulted in a big difference between the two hybrids of different ripening time, while there was a much smaller difference in the case of higher NPK kg ha-1 treatment combinations.
However, this correlation was the opposite in the case of favourable climatic circumstances (2016). Averaged over the different NPK treatment combinations, the yield of the FAO 360 maize hybrid was affected by the climatic circumstances to a lesser extent. As a result of more favourable weather conditions, this hybrid showed a yield surplus of 1.930 t ha-1 (P<0.05) in 2016, while the influence of crop year was great in the case of the FAO 490 hybrid (4.345 t ha-1) (P<0.001).
Of the examined hybrids, the shorter ripening time (FAO 360) hybrid tolerated stress conditions better and its yield – averaged over the different treatments – exceeded that of the FAO 490 hybrid by 2.094 t ha-1 (P<0.001) in 2013, while there was no significant difference between the two hybrids under favourable weather circumstances.
Under favourable climatic conditions and with the selection of the proper NPK kg ha-1 treatment combination, the yield surplus of the FAO 360 maize hybrid was 3.873 t ha-1, while that of the FAO 490 hybrid was 7.308 t ha-1. These results are significant (P<0.001).
Earnings and expenditures and their relationship to each other are significant aspects of the income conditions of maize production, while the weather of the given year is also a significant influential factor. In 2016, the extra income related to the production of the FAO 490 maize hybrid was significant at the fertiliser level providing the highest extra income at the lower fertiliser cost level and with the 12.1% decrease of buying-in price. This extra income was 25 035 HUF ha-1, while that of the shorter ripening time FAO 360 hybrid was 3 239 HUF ha-1, compared to the maximum income value of 2013.
Based on the performed examinations, it can be concluded that the highest nutrient level provided the highest extra income in only one case. In the other three scenarios, the financial result of fertilisation could be maximised at a lower level of expenditure.
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