Selection for yield increased nitrogen-water co-limitation, NUE and WUE in Australian wheat

Mariano Cossani1, 2, Andrew Ware2, Victor O. Sadras1

1 SARDI, Waite Building 11a Hartley Grove, Adelaide, SA, 5001, ,

2 SARDI, 1 Hinmarsh St., Port Lincoln, SA, 5606


The co-limitation approach has mainly been used in ecological studies. Fewer studies tested co-limitation in crops, providing insights into the link between water and N co-limitation and yield gaps in rainfed wheat. The current work analysed a set of modern and old wheat cultivars in terms of water and N co-limitation in a low rainfall location of Eyre Peninsula. The objective was to improve the understanding in water and N economy of wheat crops, and to test the co-limitation theory using an empirical approach under experimental field conditions. Results indicated genetic gains in wheat yields are associated with better resource use efficiency mostly driven by a higher capacity of N uptake per each mm of water used and improved root systems.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

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