Assessment of canopy growth and development for three wheat cultivars under different water and nitrogen regimes

Bangyou Zheng a*, Karine Chenu b, Fernanda Dreccer c, Greg Rebetzke d, Scott Chapman a

a CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Queensland Biosciences Precinct 306 Carmody Road, St Lucia, 4067, QLD, Australia

b The University of Queensland, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), 203 Tor Street, Toowoomba, QLD 4350, Australia

c CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Cooper Laboratory, Warrego Highway, Gatton, 4343, Australia

d CSIRO Agriculture and Food, PO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

* Corresponding author: Bangyou Zheng, Tel: +61 (0)7 3214 2620, Fax: +61 (0)7 3214 2920, email:


Traits related to water productivity in dryland cropping interact in multiple ways to influence final grain yield. Crop modelling can be a useful tool to address the challenge of determining how to best combine region-specific traits and develop management adaptation for specific cultivars. The Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM) model has been developed and widely-used for diverse applications in scientific research and decision support. However, the model requires further development to accurately simulate important candidate traits associated with water productivity. To better capture differences among genotypes, APSIM needs improvement related to the modelling of canopy development as a driver of water use. Field experiments were conducted in 2015 to assess variation and covariation in traits related to water productivity, e.g. early vigour, tillering, leaf area development, water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) accumulation and transpiration efficiency. Contrasting genotypes for these traits were grown under a range of water and nitrogen regimes. Data were collected through field observation, destructive sampling and high-throughput technologies. Extensive phenotyping was used to explore patterns in canopy development and canopy structure and their impact on productivity, with particular focus on variation occurring during the vegetative stage. An improved wheat model is being developed using the Plant Model Framework in the next generation prototype of APSIM. Experiments described above, as well as previously collected datasets, are being used to develop new algorithms. The new model will be used to assess wheat traits related to water productivity across the Australian wheatbelt.


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.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Southern Farming Systems Agriculture Victoria

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.
© 2015 - 2017 Conference Design Pty Ltd