Analysis of wheat production in chile during the twentieth century.

Mario Mellado Z.1

An analysis of wheat production in Chile during the Twentieth Century was carried out, based upon data such as fertilizers use, sown area, varieties, grain yield, imports, exports and national consumption. The most significant conclusions were as follows: from the beginning ofthis century until the 1990's the average fertilizer rates applied to wheat increased from 0.5 to 90 kg ha-1 and from 9 to 70 kg ha-1 forNitrogen and P2O5, respectively. The area sown with wheat correlates positively with wheat real prices during the last twenty years with 80% ofthe variation in sown area being explained by this sole factor. Over 200 different wheat varieties have been sown in Chile during the twentieth century. The average national grain yield approached 1.2 t ha-1 from the beginning ofthe century until the 1951-1960 decade and a steady progress from 1981 onwards is observed, reaching during the last decade a national average yield of 3,4 t ha-1. Until 1930 Chile exported wheat, afterwards becoming a net wheat importer with an annual average import of 511,000 metric tons during the last two decades. Wheat is a staple food in Chile and contributed with approximately 34% ofthe energy and 50% ofthe proteins ingested by the Chilean population during the last decade.

Key words: Wheat, sown area, grain yield, varieties, fertilizers, imports, exports, nutritive value.

1 Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, Centro Regional Quilamapu, Casilla 426, Chillán, Chile. mmellado@inia.cl.

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