Please wait a minute...
Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2018, Vol. 17 Issue (12): 2648-2661    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(18)62086-6
Crop Science Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Postponed and reduced basal nitrogen application improves nitrogen use efficiency and plant growth of winter wheat
TIAN Zhong-wei, LIU Xiao-xue, GU Shi-lu, YU Jin-hong, ZHANG Lei, ZHANG Wei-wei, JIANG Dong, CAO Wei-xing, DAI Ting-bo
Key Laboratory of Crop Physiology Ecology and Production Management, Ministry of Agriculture/College of Agriculture, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, P.R.China
Download:  PDF (1285KB) ( )  
Export:  BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      
Excessive nitrogen (N) fertilization with a high basal N ratio in wheat can result in lower N use efficiency (NUE) and has led to environmental problems in the Yangtze River Basin, China.  However, wheat requires less N fertilizer at seedling growth stage, and its basal N fertilizer utilization efficiency is relatively low; therefore, reducing the N application rate at the seedling stage and postponing the N fertilization period may be effective for reducing N application and increasing wheat yield and NUE.  A 4-year field experiment was conducted with two cultivars under four N rates (240 kg N ha–1 (N240),
180 kg N ha–1 (N180), 150 kg N ha–1 (N150), and 0 kg N ha–1 (N0)) and three basal N application stages (seeding (L0), four-leaf stage (L4), and six-leaf stage (L6)) to investigate the effects of reducing the basal N application rate and postponing the basal N fertilization period on grain yield, NUE, and N balance in a soil-wheat system.  There was no significant difference in grain yield between the N180L4 and N240L0 (control) treatments, and the maximum N recovery efficiency and N agronomy efficiency were observed in the N180L4 treatment.  Grain yield and NUE were the highest in the L4 treatment.  The leaf area index, flag leaf photosynthesis rate, flag leaf nitrate reductase and glutamine synthase activities, dry matter accumulation, and N uptake post-jointing under N180L4 did not differ significantly from those under N240L0.  Reduced N application decreased the inorganic N content in the 0–60-cm soil layer, and the inorganic N content of the L6 treatment was higher than those of the L0 and L4 treatments at the same N level.  Surplus N was low under the reduced N rates and delayed basal N application treatments.  Therefore, postponing and reducing basal N fertilization could maintain a high yield and improve NUE by improving the photosynthetic production capacity, promoting N uptake and assimilation, and reducing surplus N in soil-wheat systems.
Keywords:  basal nitrogen application stage        grain yield        nitrogen deficiency        nitrogen use efficiency        soil nitrogen balance        wheat  
Received: 26 March 2018   Accepted:
Fund: We appreciate the generous financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31471443, 31501262), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China (KJQN201632), and the Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Modern Crop Production, Nanjing Agricultural University.
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence DAI Ting-bo, Tel: +86-25-84395033,Fax: +86-25-84396302, E-mail:   
About author:  TIAN Zhong-wei, Tel: +86-25-84399623, E-mail:;

Cite this article: 

TIAN Zhong-wei, LIU Xiao-xue, GU Shi-lu, YU Jin-hong, ZHANG Lei, ZHANG Wei-wei, JIANG Dong, CAO Wei-xing, DAI Ting-bo. 2018. Postponed and reduced basal nitrogen application improves nitrogen use efficiency and plant growth of winter wheat. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 17(12): 2648-2661.

Abd-El-Baki G, Siefritz F, Man H, Weiner H, Kaldenhoff R, Kaiser W. 2000. Nitrate reductase in Zea mays L. under salinity. Plant Cell and Environment, 23, 515–521.
Abril A, Baleani D, Casado-Murillo N, Noe L. 2007. Effect of wheat crop fertilization on nitrogen dynamics and balance in the Humid Pampas, Argentina. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 119, 171–176.
Barbier-Brygoo H, De Angeli A, Filleur S, Frachisse J M, Gambale F, Thomine S, Wege S. 2011. Anion channels/transporters in plants: From molecular bases to regulatory networks. Annual Review of Plant Biology, 62, 25–51.
Chen B, Liu E K, Tian Q, Yan C, Zhang Y. 2014. Soil nitrogen dynamics and crop residues. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 34, 429–442.
Chen X, Zhang F, Romheld V. 2006. Synchronizing N supply from soil and fertilizer and N demand of winter wheat by an improved Nmin method. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 74, 91–98.
Chuan L, He P, Pampolino M F, Johnston A M, Jin J, Xu X, Zhao S, Qiu S, Zhou W. 2013. Establishing a scientific basis for fertilizer recommendations for wheat in China: Yield response and agronomic efficiency. Field Crops Research, 140, 1–8.
Cui Z, Chen X, Li J, Xu J, Shi L. 2006. Effect of N fertilization on grain yield of winter wheat and apparent N losses. Pedosphere, 16, 806–812.
Deng F, Wang L, Ren W J, Mei X F. 2014. Enhancing nitrogen utilization and soil nitrogen balance in paddy fields by optimizing nitrogen management and using polyaspartic acid urea. Field Crops Research, 169, 30–38.
Duan Y, Xu M, Gao S, Yang X, Huang S, Liu H, Wang B. 2014. Nitrogen use efficiency in a wheat-corn cropping system from 15 years of manure and fertilizer applications. Field Crops Research, 157, 47–56.
Fageria N K, Baligar V C. 2005. Enhancing nitrogen use efficiency in crop plants. Advances in Agronomy, 88, 97–185.
Gong P, Liang L, Zhang Q. 2011. China must reduce fertilizer use too. Nature, 473, 284–285.
Guarda G, Padovan S, Delogu G. 2004. Grain yield, nitrogen-use efficiency and baking quality of old and modern Italian bread-wheat cultivars grown at different nitrogen levels. European Journal of Agronomy, 21, 181–192.
Hartmann T E, Yue S, Schulz R, Chen X, Zhang F, Müller T. 2014. Nitrogen dynamics, apparent mineralization and balance calculations in a maize-wheat double cropping system of the North China Plain. Field Crops Research, 160, 22–30.
Hawkesford M J. 2014. Reducing the reliance on nitrogen fertilizer for wheat production. Journal of Cereal Science, 59, 276–283.
Jiang S, Sun J, Tian Z, Hu H, Michel E J S, Gao J, Jiang D, Cao W, Dai T. 2017. Root extension and nitrate transporter up-regulation induced by nitrogen deficiency improves nitrogen status and plant growth at the seedling stage of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Environmental & Experimental Botany, 141, 28–40.
Lacuesta M, Gonzalez-Moro B, González-Murua C, Muñoz-Rueda A. 1990. Temporal study of the effect of phosphinothricin on the activity of glutamine synthetase, glutamate dehydrogenase and nitrate reductase in Medicago sativa L. Journal of Plant Physiology, 136, 410–414.
Li D, Tian M, Cai J, Jiang D, Cao W, Dai T. 2013. Effects of low nitrogen supply on relationships between photosynthesis and nitrogen status at different leaf position in wheat seedlings. Plant Growth Regulation, 70, 257–263.
Liu X, Ju X, Zhang F, Pan J, Christie P. 2003. Nitrogen dynamics and budgets in a winter wheat-maize cropping system in the North China Plain. Field Crops Research, 83, 111–124.
Liu X, Zhao Z, Ju X, Zhang F. 2002. Effect of N application as basal fertilizer on grain yield of winter wheat, fertilizer N recovery and N balance. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 22, 1122–1128.
Miao Y, Stewart B A, Zhang F. 2011. Long-term experiments for sustainable nutrient management in China. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 31, 397–414.
Oka M, Shimoda Y, Sato N, Inoue J, Yamazaki T, Shimomura N, Fujiyama H. 2012. Abscisic acid substantially inhibits senescence of cucumber plants (Cucumis sativus) grown under low nitrogen conditions. Journal of Plant Physiology, 169, 789–796.
Peng S, Buresh R J, Huang J, Yang J, Zou Y, Zhong X, Wang G, Zhang F. 2006. Strategies for overcoming low agronomic nitrogen use efficiency in irrigated rice systems in China. Field Crops Research, 96, 37–47.
Ravier C, Meynard J M, Cohan J P, Gate P, Jeuffroy M H. 2017. Early nitrogen deficiencies favor high yield, grain protein content and N use efficiency in wheat. European Journal of Agronomy, 89, 16–24.
Recous S, Machet J M. 1999. Short-term immobilisation and crop uptake of fertiliser nitrogen applied to winter wheat: Effect of date of application in spring. Plant and Soil, 206, 137–149.
Singh U, Prasad S, Prasad B, Kumar A, Yadav R, Singh R, Yadav G. 2014. Alkalinity induced changes in some of the enzymes of nitrogen metabolism during germination and early seedling growth of rice genotypes. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 9, 1480–1483.
Shi Z, Li D, Jing Q, Cai J, Jiang D, Cao W, Dai T. 2012. Effects of nitrogen applications on soil nitrogen balance and nitrogen utilization of winter wheat in a rice-wheat rotation. Field Crops Research, 127, 241–247.
Shukla A K, Ladha J K, Singh V K, Dwivedi B S, Balasubramanian V, Gupta R K, Sharma S K, Singh Y, Pathak H, Pandey P S. 2004. Calibrating the leaf color chart for nitrogen management in different genotypes of rice and wheat in a systems perspective. Agronomy Journal, 96, 1606–1621.
Thomsen H C, Eriksson D, Møller I S, Schjoerring J K. 2014. Cytosolic glutamine synthetase: A target for improvement of crop nitrogen use efficiency? Trends in Plant Science, 19, 656–663.
Tian Z, Jing Q, Dai T, Jiang D, Cao W. 2011. Effects of genetic improvements on grain yield and agronomic traits of winter wheat in the Yangtze River Basin of China. Field Crops Research, 124, 417–425.
Tian Z, Li Y, Liang Z, Guo H, Cai J, Jiang D, Cao W, Dai T. 2016. Genetic improvement of nitrogen uptake and utilization of winter wheat in the Yangtze River Basin of China. Field Crops Research, 196, 251–260.
Trouwborst G, Hogewoning S W, Harbinson J, Van I W. 2011. Photosynthetic acclimation in relation to nitrogen allocation in cucumber leaves in response to changes in irradiance. Physiologia Plantarum, 142, 157–169.
Vogan P J, Sage R F. 2011. Water-use efficiency and nitrogen-use efficiency of C3–C4 intermediate species of Flaveria Juss. (Asteraceae). Plant Cell & Environment, 34, 1415–1430.
Wang H, Guo Z, Shi Y, Zhang Y, Yu Z. 2015. Impact of tillage practices on nitrogen accumulation and translocation in wheat and soil nitrate-nitrogen leaching in drylands. Soil and Tillage Research, 153, 20–27.
Wang W, Rui L, Liu B, Liang L, Wang S, Fang C. 2011. Effects of low nitrogen and drought stresses on proline synthesis of Jatropha curcas seedling. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum, 33, 1591–1595.
Wu Y, Liu W, Li X, Li M, Zhang D, Hao Z, Weng J, Xu Y, Bai L, Zhang S. 2011. Low-nitrogen stress tolerance and nitrogen agronomic efficiency among maize inbreds: comparison of multiple indices and evaluation of genetic variation. Euphytica, 180, 281–290.
Yoshihira T, Karasawa T. 2003. Relationship between photosynthetic rate and leaf nitrogen content in high-yield winter Triticale compared with wheat and rye. Japanese Journal of Crop Science, 72, 170–171.
Zebarth B J, Botha E J, Rees H. 2007. Rate and time of fertilizer nitrogen application on yield, protein and. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 87, 709–718.
[1] ZHAO Xiao-dong, QIN Xiao-rui, LI Ting-liang, CAO Han-bing, XIE Ying-he. Effects of planting patterns plastic film mulching on soil temperature, moisture, functional bacteria and yield of winter wheat in the Loess Plateau of China[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2023, 22(5): 1560-1573.
[2] TU Ke-ling, YIN Yu-lin, YANG Li-ming, WANG Jian-hua, SUN Qun. Discrimination of individual seed viability by using the oxygen consumption technique and headspace-gas chromatography-ion mobility spectrometry[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2023, 22(3): 727-737.
[3] HU Wen-jing, FU Lu-ping, GAO De-rong, LI Dong-sheng, LIAO Sen, LU Cheng-bin. Marker-assisted selection to pyramid Fusarium head blight resistance loci Fhb1 and Fhb2 in a high-quality soft wheat cultivar Yangmai 15[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2023, 22(2): 360-370.
[4] ZHENG Chang, WANG Yue-chao, XU Wen-ba, YANG De-sheng, YANG Guo-dong, YANG Chen, HUANG Jian-liang, PENG Shao-bing. Border effects of the main and ratoon crops in rice ratooning system[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2023, 22(1): 80-91.
[5] DENG Fei, HE Lian-hua, CHEN Duo, ZHANG Chi, TIAN Qing-lan, WU Zhen-yuan, LI Qiu-ping, ZENG Yu-ling, ZHONG Xiao-yuan, CHEN Hong, WANG Li, REN Wan-jun. Growth characteristics and grain yield of machine-transplanted medium indica hybrid rice with high daily yield[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(9): 2547-2558.
[6] XU Chen-chen, ZHANG Ping, WANG Yuan-yuan, LUO Ning, TIAN Bei-jing, LIU Xi-wei, WANG Pu, HUANG Shou-bing. Grain yield and grain moisture associations with leaf, stem and root characteristics in maize[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(7): 1941-1951.
[7] LI Si-ping, ZENG Lu-sheng, SU Zhong-liang. Wheat growth, photosynthesis and physiological characteristics under different soil Zn levels[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(7): 1927-1940.
[8] ZHANG Hai-feng, Tofazzal ISLAM, LIU Wen-de. Integrated pest management programme for cereal blast fungus Magnaporthe oryza[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(12): 3420-3433.
[9] Ebrahim ROOHI, Reza MOHAMMADI, Abdoul Aziz NIANE, Javad VAFABAKHSH, Mozaffar ROUSTAEE, Mohammad Reza JALAL KAMALI, Shahriar SOHRABI, Shahriar FATEHI, Hossain TARIMORADI. Genotype×tillage interaction and the performance of winter bread wheat genotypes in temperate and cold dryland conditions[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(11): 3199-3215.
[10] HUANG Li-ying, Li Xiao-xiao, ZHANG Yun-bo, Shah FAHAD, WANG Fei. dep1 improves rice grain yield and nitrogen use efficiency simultaneously by enhancing nitrogen and dry matter translocation[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(11): 3185-3198.
[11] TU De-bao JIANG Yang, ZHANG Li-juan, CAI Ming-li, LI Cheng-fang, CAO Cou-gui. Effect of various combinations of temperature during different phenolgical stages on indica rice yield and quality in Yangtze River Basin in China[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(10): 2900-2909.
[12] ZHAO Lai-bin, XIE Die, HUANG Lei, ZHANG Shu-jie, LUO Jiang-tao, JIANG Bo, NING Shun-zong, ZHANG Lian-quan, YUAN Zhong-wei, WANG Ji-rui, ZHENG You-liang, LIU Deng-cai, HAO Ming. Integrating the physical and genetic map of bread wheat facilitates the detection of chromosomal rearrangements[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(9): 2333-2342.
[13] TIAN Qing-lan, HE Lian-hua, LIAO Shuang, LI Wu, DENG Fei, ZHOU Wei, ZHONG Xiao-yuan, REN Wan-jun. Indica rice restorer lines with large sink potential exhibit improved nutrient transportation to the panicle, which enhances both yield and nitrogen-use efficiency[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(6): 1438-1456.
[14] WANG Yue-chao, LI Xiu-fen, Lee Tarpley, PENG Shao-bing, DOU Fu-gen. Effects of nitrogen management on the ratoon crop yield and head rice yield in South USA[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(6): 1457-1464.
[15] ZHAO Can, HUANG Heng, QIAN Zi-hui, JIANG Heng-xin, LIU Guang-ming, XU Ke, HU Ya-jie, DAI Qi-gen, HUO Zhong-yang. Effect of side deep placement of nitrogen on yield and nitrogen use efficiency of single season late japonica rice[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(6): 1487-1502.
No Suggested Reading articles found!