Regional evaluation of critical nitrogen concentrations in winter wheat production of the north China plain

Zhenling Cui, Fusuo Zhang, Zhengxia Dou, Yuxin Miao, Qinping Sun, Xinping Chen, Junliang Li, Youliang Ye, Zhiping Yang, Qiang Zhang, Chunsheng Liu, Shaomin Huang

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17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Investigating critical nitrogen concentration (CNC) in grain and straw provides insights into N nutrition, and can serve as a guide to improved agricultural practice. This regional study evaluated the relationship between N fertilization rate and grain yield, N concentration, potential N loss, and determined critical grain and straw nitrogen concentrations (CGNC and CSNC) for winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production in China. At the economically optimum nitrogen rate (EONR), grain N concentration was similar to the maximum value calculated using a linear plus plateau model, while straw N concentration was significantly less than the relevant maximum value. Soil nitrate N content after harvest and apparent N loss for maximum straw N concentration increased by 19 and 9 kg N ha-1 compared to values at the EONR. Based on nine field experiments, CGNC and CSNC corresponding to optimal N rate were established to be 21.9 g kg-1 (20.8-23.0 g kg-1) and 6.8 g kg-1 (6.5-7.1 g kg-1), respectively. An evaluation of CGNC and CSNC across 111 on-farm sites indicated that while many sites had grain and straw N concentrations falling within the CGNC and CSNC, a substantial portion of the sites had grain and straw N concentrations falling outside of the CGNC and CSNC or falling within the critical ranges when N supply was deficient (0 N control) or excess (at farmer's N practice). This region-wide study provided evidence for the usefulness of CSNC, and particularly CGNC, as indicators of N deficiencies in wheat production; however, neither indicator provided information about excess N fertilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalAgronomy Journal
Volume101
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

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