N application increases pre-anthesis contribution of dry matter to grain yield in wheat grown on a duplex soil

J. A. Palta, I. R.P. Fillery

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83 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effect of fertilizer N on the growth, post-anthesis water deficits and remobilization of dry matter in spring wheat was measured on a duplex soil at East Beverley, Western Australia. Nitrogen was applied at 15, 30 and 60 kg N ha-1 with half being applied at seeding and the remainder at 35 days after sowing (DAS), immediately before the onset of tillering. The applied N generated differences in early growth (76-117 g m-2) and dry matter at anthesis (410-693 g m-2), mainly through the effect of N on tiller number (120-171 m-2) and tiller size. It also generated differences in the water deficit, particularly after flowering. During the first 21 days after anthesis, midday flag leaf water potential fell at rates of 0.04, 0.07 and 0.13 MPa day-1 at 15, 30 and 60 kg N ha-1 respectively. Grain yield at 60 kg N ha-1 was increased by 20% relative to that of 15 kg N ha-1. The increase in grain yield resulted from an increase in the number of ears and grain number per ear. The high N treatment probably induced the increase in the number of fertile tillers (tillers with an ear), but reduced the grain size by 16% relative to the low N treatment. Contribution of preanthesis dry matter to grain yield was 193 g m-2 for the wheat receiving 60 kg N ha-1, 71 g m-2 for wheat which received 30 kg N ha-1 and only 16 g m-2 for wheat which received 15 kg N ha-1. This indicates that at high N supply, grain growth was substantially supported by pre-anthesis stored assimilates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-518
Number of pages12
Journal Australian Journal of Agricultural Research
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes

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