Wheat Grain and Flour Quality as Affected by Cropping Intensity

Boris Varga1, Zlatko Svečnjak1*, Zorica Jurković2, Josip Kovačević2 and Željko Jukić1

Department of Field Crops, Forage and Grasslands, Faculty of Agriculture, Svetošimunska 25, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia

2Agricultural Institute Osijek, Južno predgrađe 17, HR-31000 Osijek, Croatia

Article history:

Received: June 23, 2003
Accepted: November 10, 2003

Key words:

wheat, cultivar, nitrogen, quality, grain, flour


Average grain yield of 3.93 t/ha in Croatia in the last decade (1991–2001) indicates that winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is still widely grown under extensive production systems primarily characterized by suboptimal nitrogen fertilization. Therefore, the object of this research was to evaluate the bread-making quality of grain and flour of different wheat cultivars as influenced by cropping intensity and foliar nitrogen application at flowering. A field experiment under two cropping intensities, called intensive and extensive production systems, was conducted in the 1999/2000 growing season at the Faculty of Agriculture in Zagreb. The use of an intensive production system compared to an extensive system significantly improved hectolitre weight (1.9 %), protein content (16.9 %), wet gluten (59.7 %), sedimentation (67.2 %), falling number (7.8 %), water absorption (2.0 %), dough development time (78.2 %), dough stability (900.0 %), dough resistance (138.1%) and farinograph quality number (142.8 %), while it had no effect on gluten index, flour yield and physical grain properties (1000-grain weight, grain length, width and thickness). Under the intensive system, compared to the extensive production system, only softening degree decreased by 29.5 %, which also had positive impact on bread-making quality of wheat. Foliar nitrogen application at flowering additionally improved hectolitre weight (1.1 %), protein content (6.1 %), wet gluten (11.8 %), sedimentation (16.5 %), water absorption (2.5 %) and dough development time (28.4 %). The findings showed that wheat with better bread-making quality might be achieved under intensive production systems, particularly with high nitrogen fertilization rates. 

*Corresponding author: 
                                               ++385 1 239 3774
                                               ++385 1 239 370