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Relationship between rainfall-adjusted nitrogen nutrition index and yield of wheat in Western Australia

Neuhaus, Andreas, Sadras, Victor O.
Journal of plant nutrition 2018 v.41 no.20 pp. 2637-2643
biomass, crop yield, field experimentation, growers, growing season, nitrogen, nitrogen content, rain, summer, wheat, Western Australia
Insufficient nitrogen applications may contribute to yield gaps in low rainfall environments of Western Australia (WA). This study tested a nitrogen nutrition index (NNI) for wheat tailored for low rainfall regions, which is based on rainfall-scaled dilution curves. We analyzed yield, shoot biomass, and nitrogen concentration from 32 field trials in WA. An empirical rainfall threshold of 400 mm (summer + growing season rainfall) returned two parallel dilution curves accounting for the reduction of critical N in drier and lower yielding conditions. Scatterplots of relative yield and rainfall-adjusted NNI returned a robust boundary function that may lead to greater adoption by growers. The NNI defined in this research study can be applied and further tested by growers in WA, but may also apply to other low rainfall environments, to close nitrogen related yield gaps.