Boron improves productivity and profitability of bread wheat under zero and plough tillage on alkaline calcareous soil

Faisal Nadeem, Muhammad Farooq*, Ahmad Nawaz, Riaz Ahmad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


In Indo-Gangetic Plains, rice-wheat cropping system (RWC) is often practiced on alkaline soils low in organic matter and plant available boron (B). However, switching towards conservation tillage and B nutrition may help sustain the productivity of bread wheat in RWC. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of B application on the productivity, profitability and grain B concentration of bread wheat sown under plough tillage and zero tillage systems. Boron was delivered through seed priming (0.01 M), foliage application (0.01 M) and soil application (1 kg ha-1). There existed significant interaction between B application methods and tillage systems for grain yield and quality traits in bread wheat. Seed priming was the most cost-effective method of B application in improving the grain yield of zero tillage wheat. However, soil applied B was the best in terms of yield improvement of plough tillage wheat. Soil and foliage applied B was better in improving the grain quality through increasing grain B and N concentrations irrespective of both tillage systems. Zero tillage in wheat increased the total soil organic matter by 8.2% than plough tillage wheat. Improvement in soil organic carbon (28%), soil microbial biomass nitrogen (45%) and soil microbial biomass carbon (27%) was also noted in zero tillage than plough tillage at 0-10 cm depth. In conclusion, B application, by either method, improved the performance and profitability of wheat planted in plough tillage and zero tillage systems. However, seed priming and soil application were the most economical and cost-effective methods of B application in zero tillage and plough tillage wheat, respectively. Zero tillage system improved the soil health, physical properties and nutrients availability than plough tillage systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalField Crops Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2019


  • Economics
  • Grain quality
  • Rice-wheat cropping system
  • Seed priming
  • Soil health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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