The Journal of Agricultural Science


The effects of triazole and strobilurin fungicide programmes on nitrogen uptake, partitioning, remobilization and grain N accumulation in winter wheat cultivars

R. E. RUSKE a1c1, M. J. GOODING a1 and S. A. JONES a1
a1 Crops Research Unit, Department of Agriculture, The University of Reading, Earley Gate, PO Box 237, Reading RG6 6AR, UK

Article author query
ruske r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
gooding m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
jones s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Field experiments were conducted over 3 years to assess the effect of a triazole fungicide programme, and additions of strobilurin fungicides to it, on nitrogen uptake, accumulation and partitioning in a range of winter wheat cultivars. Commensurate with delayed senescence, fungicide programmes, particularly when including strobilurins, improved grain yield through improvements in both crop biomass and harvest index, although the relationship with green area duration of the flag leaf (GFLAD) depended on year and in some cases, cultivar. In all years fungicide treatments significantly increased the amount of nitrogen in the above-ground biomass, the amount of nitrogen in the grain and the nitrogen harvest index. All these effects could be linearly related to the fungicide effect on GFLAD. These relationships occasionally interacted with cultivar but there was no evidence that fungicide mode of action affected the relationship between GFLAD and yield of nitrogen in the grain. Fungicide treatments significantly reduced the amount of soil mineral N at harvest and when severe disease had been controlled, the net remobilization of N from the vegetation to the grain after anthesis. Fungicide maintained the filling of grain with both dry matter and nitrogen. The proportionate accumulation of nitrogen in the grain was later than that of dry matter and this difference was greater when fungicide had been applied. Effects of fungicide on grain protein concentration and its relationship with GFLAD were inconsistent over year and cultivar. There were several instances where grain protein concentration was unaffected despite large (1·5 t/ha) increases in grain yield following fungicide use. Dilution of grain protein concentration following fungicide use, when it did occur, was small compared with what would be predicted by adoption of other yield increasing techniques such as the selection of high yielding cultivars (based on currently available cultivars) or by growing wheat in favourable climates.

(Received March 25 2003)

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