Plant and Soil

, Volume 233, Issue 1, pp 127–143

Analysis of water- and nitrogen-use efficiency of wheat in a Mediterranean climate

  • S. Asseng
  • N. C. Turner
  • B. A. Keating
Article

Abstract

Water-use efficiency (WUE [g grain yield m−2 mm−1 ET]) and nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE [Δ g grain yield g−1 Napplied]) are important measures that can affect the productivity of crops in different environmental systems. However, measurement and interpretation of WUE and NUE in the field are often hampered by the high degree of complexity of these systems due to season-to-season variability in rainfall, the variation in crop responses to soil types and to agronomic management. To be able to guide agronomic practice, experimentally-derived measurements of WUE and NUE need to be extrapolated across time and space through appropriate modelling. To illustrate this approach, the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM), which has been rigorously tested for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in a Mediterranean environment, was used to estimate and analyse the WUE and NUE of wheat crops in the Mediterranean-climatic region of the central Western Australian agricultural zone. The APSIM model was run for three locations (average annual rainfall of 461 mm [high rainfall zone], 386 mm [medium] and 310 mm [low]) and two soil types that had contrasting plant-available water-holding capacities in the rooting zone (sand: 55 mm, clay soil: 109 mm). Simulations were carried out with historical weather records (82–87 years) assuming current crop management and cultivars. The modelling analyses highlighted the inherently high degree of seasonal variability in yield, WUE and NUE of wheat, depending on soil type, N fertiliser input, rainfall amount and, in particular, rainfall distribution. The clay soil tended to be more productive in terms of grain yield, WUE and NUE in the high and medium rainfall zones, but less productive in most years in the low rainfall zone. The sandy soil was less productive in the high rainfall zone due to the high nitrate leaching potential of this soil type, but more productive than the clay in the low rainfall zone due to poorer pre-anthesis growth and less water use, less water loss by soil evaporation and relatively more water use in the post-anthesis phase. When a wheat crop was sown early on clay soil in the low rainfall zone, it yielded as high as in the other rainfall zones in seasons when rainfall was above average or there was a good store of water in the soil prior to sowing. The simulations confirmed findings from a limited number of field experiments and extended these findings both qualitatively and quantitatively across soil types, rainfall regions and crop management options. Furthermore, by using long-term historical weather records, the simulations extended the findings across the wide range of climatic scenarios experienced in mediterranean-climatic regions.

APSIM evapotranspiration grain yield harvest index probability water use 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anderson G C, Fillery I R P, Dolling P J and Asseng S 1998 Nitrogen and water flows under pasture-wheat and lupin-wheat rotations in deep sands in Western Australia. 1. Nitrogen fixation in legumes, net N mineralisation and utilisation of soil-derived nitrogen.Aust. J. Agric. Res.49, 329–343.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson W K 1992 Increasing grain yield and water use of wheat in a rainfed Mediterranean type environment.Aust. J. Agric. Res. 43, 1–17.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson WK, Crosbie G B and Lemsom K 1995 Production practices for high protein, hard wheat in Western Australia.Aust. J. Exp. Agric. 35,589–595.Google Scholar
  4. Angus J F, Nix H A, Russell J S and Kruizinga J E 1980 Water use, growth and yield of wheat in a sub-tropical environment.Aust. J. Agric. Res. 31,873–886.Google Scholar
  5. Asseng S, Fillery I R P, Anderson G C, Dolling P J, Dunin F X and Keating B A 1998a Use of the APSIM wheat model to predict yield, drainage and NO3- leaching for a deep sand. Aust. J. Agric. Res.49, 363–377.Google Scholar
  6. Asseng S, Keating B A, Fillery I R P, Gregory P J, Bowden J W, Turner N C, Palta J A and Abrecht D G 1998b Performance of the APSIM-wheat model in Western Australia.Field Crops Res. 57, 163–179.Google Scholar
  7. Asseng S, Fillery I R P, Dunin F X, Keating B A and Meinke H 2001 Potential deep drainage under wheat crops in a Mediterranean climate. I. Temporal and spatial variability. Aust. J. Agric. Res. 52,45–56Google Scholar
  8. Asseng S, Van Keulen H and Stol W 2000 Performance and application of the APSIM Nwheat model in the Netherlands. Eur. J. Agron.12,37–54.Google Scholar
  9. Blumenthal C S, Bekes F, Batey I L, Wrigley CW, Moss H J, Mares D J and Barlow E W R 1991 Interpretation of grain quality results from wheat variety trials with reference to high temperature stress.Aust. J. Agric. Res.42,325–334.Google Scholar
  10. Brown R A and Rosenberg N J 1997 Sensitivity of crop yield and water use to change in a range of climatic factors and CO2 concentrations: a simulation study applying EPIC to the central USA. Agric. For. Meteorol.83, 171–203.Google Scholar
  11. Connor D J, Theiveyanathan S and Rimmington G m 1992 Development, growth, water-use and yield of a spring and a winter wheat in response to time of sowing.Aust. J. Agric. Res.43, 493–516.Google Scholar
  12. Cooper P J M, Gregory P J, Keatinge J D H and Brown S C 1987 Effects of fertilizer, variety and location on barley production under rainfed conditions in northern Syria. 2. Soil water dynamics and crop water use.Field Crops Res. 16,67–84.Google Scholar
  13. Dann P R 1969 Response by wheat to phosphorus and nitrogen with particular reference to 'haying-off'.Aust. J. Exp. Agric. Anim. Husb. 9,625–629.Google Scholar
  14. Delogu G, Cattivelli L, Pecchioni N, De Falcis D, Maggiore T and Stanca A m 1998 Uptake and agronomic efficiency of nitrogen in winter barley and winter wheat.Eur. J. Agron. 9, 11–20.Google Scholar
  15. Delroy N D and Bowden J W 1986 Effect of deep ripping, the previous crop, and applied nitrogen on the growth and yield of a wheat crop.Aust. J. Exp. Agric. 26,469–479.Google Scholar
  16. Fischer R A 1979 Growth and water limitation to dryland wheat yield in Australia: A physiological framework. J. Aust. Inst. Agric. Sci. 45,83–94.Google Scholar
  17. Fischer R A, Armstrong J S and Stapper M 1990 Simulation of soil water storage and sowing day probabilities with fallow and nofallow in southern New South Wales: I. Model and long term mean effects.Agric. Syst. 33, 215–240.Google Scholar
  18. Fischer R A, Howe G N and Ibrahim Z M 1993 Irrigated spring wheat and timing and amount of nitrogen fertilizer. 1. Grain yield and protein content.Field Crops Res. 33,37–56.Google Scholar
  19. Fischer R A and Kohn G D 1966 The relationship between evapotranspiration and growth in the wheat crop.Aust. J. Agric. Res. 17,255–267.Google Scholar
  20. Fischer R A and Turner N C 1978 Plant productivity in the arid and semiarid zones. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol.29, 277–317.Google Scholar
  21. French R J and Schultz J E 1984 Water use efficiency of wheat in a Mediterranean-type environment. I. The relation between yield, water use and climate.Aust. J. Agric. Res.35, 743–764.Google Scholar
  22. Gomez-Macpherson H and Richards R A 1995 Effect of sowing time on yield and agronomic characteristics of wheat in south-eastern Australia.Aust. J. Agric. Res.46,1381–1399.Google Scholar
  23. Greacen E L and Hignett C T 1976 A water balance model and supply index for wheat in South Australia. CSIRO Australia. Division of Soils Technical Paper, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Canberra, Australia 33 pp.Google Scholar
  24. Gregory P J, Tennant D and Belford R K 1992 Root and shoot growth, and water and light use efficiency of barley and wheat crops grown on a shallow duplex soil in a mediterranean-type environment. Aust. J. Agric. Res.43,555–573.Google Scholar
  25. Hamblin A and Kyneur G 1993 Trends in Wheat Yields and Soil Fertility in Australia. Australian Government Publishing Service (AGPS) Canberra, Australia, 141 pp.Google Scholar
  26. Keating B A, McCown R L and Cresswell H P 1995 Paddockscale models and catchment-scale problems: The role for APSIM in the Liverpool Plains. In Proceedings of MODSIM' 95. International Congress on Modelling and Simulation. Eds. P Binning, H Bridgman and B Williams. pp 158–165. Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia, Canberra, A.C.T.Google Scholar
  27. Keating B A and Meinke H 1998 Assessing exceptional drought with a cropping systems simulator: A case study for grain production in northeast Australia.Agric. Syst.57, 315–332.Google Scholar
  28. McCown R L, Hammer G L, Hargreaves J N G, Holzworth D P and Freebairn D M 1996 APSIM: A novel software system for model development, model testing and simulation in agricultural systems research. Agric. Syst.50, 255–271.Google Scholar
  29. McDonald G K 1992 Effects of nitrogenous fertilizer on the growth, grain yield and grain protein concentration of wheat.Aust. J. Agric. Res. 43, 949–967.Google Scholar
  30. Meinke H, Carberry P S, McCaskill m R, Hills m A and McLeod I 1995 Evaluation of radiation and temperature data generators in the Australian tropics and sub-tropics using crop simulation models.Agric. For. Meteorol.72,295–316.Google Scholar
  31. Monteith J L 1988 Does transpiration limit the growth of vegetation or vice versa? J. Hydrol. (Neth.) 100, 57–68.Google Scholar
  32. Nix H A 1987 The Australian climate and its effects on grain yield and quality. In Australian Field Crops. Volume 1: Wheat and Other Temperate Cereals. Eds. A Lazenby and EM Matheson. pp 183–226. Angus and Robertson, Sydney, Australia.Google Scholar
  33. Nix H A and Fitzpatrick E A 1969 An index of crop water stress related to wheat and grain sorghum yields. Agric. Meteor.6, 321–337.Google Scholar
  34. O'Leary G J and Connor D J 1998 A simulation study of wheat crop response to water supply, nitrogen nutrition, stubble retention and tillage.Aust. J. Agric. Res.49, 11–19.Google Scholar
  35. Palta J A and Fillery I R P 1995 N application enhances remobilization and reduces losses of pre-anthesis N in wheat grown on a duplex soil. Aust. J. Agric. Res. 46, 519–531.Google Scholar
  36. Passioura J B 1977 Grain yield, harvest index and water use of wheat.J. Aust. Inst. Agric. Sci. 43, 117–120.Google Scholar
  37. Passioura J B 1976 Physiology of grain yield in wheat growing on stored water.Aust. J. Plant Physiol.3, 559–565.Google Scholar
  38. Perry M W 1987 Water use efficiency of non-irrigated field crops. Proceedings of the 4th Australian Agronomy Conference. Agronomy 1987 – Responding to Change. Australian Society of Agronomy. Parkville, 83–99.Google Scholar
  39. Priestley C H B and Taylor R J 1972 On the assessment of surface heat flux and evaporation using large-scale parameters.Monthly Weather Rev.100, 81–92.Google Scholar
  40. Probert M E, Dimes J P, Keating B A, Dalal R C and Strong W M 1998 APSIM's water and nitrogen modules and simulation of the dynamics of water and nitrogen in fallow systems.Agric. Syst. 56, 1–28.Google Scholar
  41. Probert M E, Keating B A, Thompson J P and Parton W J 1995 Modelling water, nitrogen and crop yield for a long-term fallow management experiment.Aust. J. Exp. Agric.35, 941–950.Google Scholar
  42. Richards R A and Townley-Smith T F 1987 Variation in leaf area development and its effect on water use, yield and harvest index of droughted wheat.Aust. J. Agric. Res. 38, 983–992.Google Scholar
  43. Richardson C W and Wright D A 1984 WGEN: A model for generating daily weather variables.US Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Res. Service, ARS-8, USA. 83 pp.Google Scholar
  44. Rickert K G, Sedgley R H and Stern W R 1987 Environmental response of spring wheat in the south-western Australian cereal belt.Aust. J. Agric. Res.38, 655–670.Google Scholar
  45. Ritchie J T 1983 Efficient water use in crop production: discussion on the generality of relations between biomass production and evapotranspiration. In Limitations to Efficient Water Use in Crop Production. Eds. HM Taylor, WR Jordan and TR Sinclair. pp 29–44. American Society of Agronomy, Wisconsin, USA.Google Scholar
  46. Ritchie J T, Godwin D C and Otter-Nacke S 1985 CERES-wheat: A user-oriented wheat yield model.Preliminary documentation. AGRISTARS Publication No. YM-U3-04442-JSC-18892. Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA. 252 pp.Google Scholar
  47. Sadras V O and Connor D J 1991 Physiological basis of the response of harvest index to the fraction of water transpired after anthesis: A simple model to estimate harvest index for determinate species. Field Crops Res. 26, 227–239.Google Scholar
  48. Schultz J E 1972 The effect of surface treatments on soil water storage and yield of wheat.Aust. J. Exp. Agric. Anim. Husb. 12, 299–305.Google Scholar
  49. Shackley B J and Anderson WK 1995 Responses of wheat cultivars to time of sowing in the southern wheatbelt ofWestern Australia. Aust. J. Exp. Agric. 35, 579–587.Google Scholar
  50. Shepherd K D, Cooper P J M, Allan A Y, Drennan D S H and Keatinge J D H 1987 Growth, water use and yield of barley in Mediterranean-type environments. J. Agric. Sci. 108, 365–378.Google Scholar
  51. Siddique K H M, Tennant D, Perry M W and Belford R K 1990 Water use and water use efficiency of old and modern wheat cultivars in a Mediterranean-type environment. Aust. J. Agric. Res.41, 431–447.Google Scholar
  52. Smika D E and Greb B W 1973 Protein content of winter wheat grain as related to soil and climatic factors in the semiarid Central Great Plains. Agron. J. 65, 433–436.Google Scholar
  53. Stanford G and Hunter A S 1973 Nitrogen requirements of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum, L.) varieties' Blueboy' and' Redcoat'. Agron. J. 65, 442–447.Google Scholar
  54. Tanner C B and Sinclair T R 1983 Efficient water use in crop production: research or re-search? In Limitations to Efficient Water Use in Crop Production. Eds. HM Taylor, WR Jordan and TR Sinclair. pp 1–27. American Society of Agronomy, Wisconsin, USA.Google Scholar
  55. Turner N C 1997 Further progress in crop water relations. Adv. Agron. 58, 293–338.Google Scholar
  56. Turner N C 1986 Improving crop water use – what are the options? In Putting W.A. Scientists on Notice: What do you have that farmers can use?Proceedings, Wheat Sheep Review, The Farm Management Foundation of Australia (Inc.) Mosman Park, W.A. 25–32.Google Scholar
  57. Turner N C 1987 Interaction of nitrogen and water use in wheat. Proceedings of the Annual Farm Management Review, Farm Management Foundation Northam, W.A.: 84–89.Google Scholar
  58. Turpin J E, Huth N, Keating B A and Thompson J P 1996 Computer simulation of the effects of cropping rotations and fallow management on solute movement. Proceedings of the 8th Australian Agronomy Conference, Australian Society of Agronomy Inc. Toowoomba, Australia: 558–561.Google Scholar
  59. Van Herwaarden A F, Farquhar G D, Angus J F, Richards R A and Howe G N 1998 'Haying-off', the negative grain yield response of dryland wheat to nitrogen fertiliser. I. Biomass, grain yield and water use.Aust. J. Agric. Res. 49, 1067–1081.Google Scholar
  60. Whitfield D M and Smith C J 1992 Nitrogen uptake, water use, grain yield and protein content in wheat.Field Crops Res. 29, 1–14.Google Scholar
  61. Yunusa I A M, Sedgley R H, Belford R K and Tennant D 1993 Dynamics of water use in a dry mediterranean environment. I. Soil evaporation little affected by presence of plant canopy.Agric. Water Manage. 24, 205–224.Google Scholar
  62. Zhang H, Oweis T Y, Garabet S and Pala M 1998 Water-use ef-ficiency and transpiration efficiency of wheat under rain-fed conditions and supplemental irrigation in a Mediterranean-type environment.Plant Soil201, 295–305.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Asseng
    • 1
  • N. C. Turner
    • 1
  • B. A. Keating
    • 2
  1. 1.CSIRO Plant IndustryWembleyAustralia
  2. 2.APSRU/CSIRO, Sustainable Ecosystems, Long Pocket LaboratoriesIndooroopillyAustralia

Personalised recommendations