Analysis of historic rainfall characteristics for robust wheat cropping in North Anhui

Hui Su, Yibo Wu, Yulei Zhu, Youhong Song

Anhui Agricultural University, School of Agronomy, Hefei, 233036. Corresponding email:


Northern part of Anhui is one of major wheat producing areas in China. The total amount of rainfall is sufficient for wheat season; however, it is unevenly distributed at the different growth stages, resulting in risk of yield losses. In order to optimise the cultivation in North Anhui, it is essential to characterise the rainfall pattern for wheat growth particularly in the critical period (i.e. the months of sowing and harvesting). By analysing the rainfall data from 1955 to 2017, this study characterised the rainfall pattern from six sites representing different regions of North Anhui. The frequency of continuous rainfall days during sowing and harvesting periods were quantified based on 63 years rainfall distribution. The characterisation of rainfall in six representative sites in North Anhui were able to be used to guide wheat sowing and harvesting, which could help farmers to make decisions and avoid likelihood of cropping risks.


Silicon mitigates drought stress in lentil through enhancing photosynthetic activity and yield related traits

Sajitha Biju1, Sigfredo Fuentes1, Dorin Gupta1

1 School of Agriculture and Food, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences,

  The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria-3010, Australia


Drought stress is one of the major constraints leading to significant production losses in lentil. Silicon (Si) application has been shown to be a promising management strategy in improvement of drought tolerance in crops. Consequently, the present study aims to investigate the role of Si in mitigating drought stress in lentil. Measurements of chlorophyll fluorescence, photosynthetic pigments, infrared thermal canopy temperature (IRTc), gas exchange parameters and yield traits explained the possible role of Si in alleviation of drought stress effects in lentil.  Experiments were conducted in field conditions with selected drought tolerant and sensitive lentil genotypes, which were subjected to severe drought stress at the onset of the flowering stage. Results showed that Si attenuated drought stress-mediated effects on light absorption of photosystem II (PSII) by increasing the effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry and concentration of photosynthetic pigments along with maintenance of cooler canopies. Additionally, negative effects induced by drought stress on gas exchange were also mitigated by Si application. Increased growth and grain yield of Si-treated drought stressed plants could be related to the increased photosynthetic activity. Overall, Si supplementation could be used as a potential drought stress mitigation strategy in lentil plants.

The impact of future climate change on the contribution of legume fixed N to the subsequent crop in the rainfed cropping systems in Southern Australia

Hongtao Xing, Mark Richards, Guangdi Li, Rohan Brill, De Li Liu, Allison Blake, Deb Slinger

NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wagga Wagga NSW, Australia


Legume crops are one of key rotation components in agricultural systems, supplying nitrogen (N) to following crops and potentially increasing farm profitability. However, with the increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, Australia will become warmer and dryer in the future. This greatly threatens Australian crop production and brings uncertain impacts on the profitability of adding legumes into non-legume crop sequences. In this study, we optimised the crop model, APSIM, using 4-year experimental data, collected in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia. The optimised model was then used to predict lupin biological N2 fixation (BNF) and the contribution of fixed N to the subsequent canola under historical and future climatic conditions in the rainfed cropping systems. The simulation results showed that, when there was no N fertilizer applied to canola in lupin-canola rotations, BNF increased about 3% by 2071-2100 under the higher greenhouse gas emission scenario, comparing to 1961-2000. This results in about 20% of increase in the contribution of lupin fixed N to the subsequent canola seasons (NC). However, these benefits will be reduced to zero when N fertilizer applied in canola seasons is over 40 kg N/ha for BNF and 60 kg N/ha for NC, respectively, by 2071-2100 for RCP8.5. This indicates that future climate change would enhance the N contribution of legume fixed N to subsequent crops only when the non-legume crops received lower N fertilizer in the legume added rotation cropping systems.

Establishing a value proposition for future traits in a climate-changing world

Greg Rebetzke1, Kathryn Bechaz2, Michelle Murfit3, Gina Bange4, Tina Rathjen1, Fernanda Dreccer5, Warren Muller6, Andrew Fletcher7, Bangyou Zheng5, Enli Wang1, Zhigan Zhao1, Neil Fettell8

1 CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Black Mountain Science and Innovation Park, Canberra ACT, 2601,

2 NSWDPI, Yanco Agricultural Institute, Yanco NSW 2703

3 DPIRD, Merredin WA 6415

4 Uni Sydney, PBI Narrabri NSW 2390

5 CSIRO Agriculture and Food, QBP, St Lucia QLD, 4067

6 CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra ACT 2601

7 CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Centre for Environment and Life Sciences, PMB 5, Wembley, WA 6913

8 Central West Farming Systems, 1 Fifield Rd Condobolin, NSW 2877


Increasing climate variability is as great a concern as increasing air temperatures forecast with climate change. The challenge for breeders is in identifying and selecting traits that are genetically correlated with environments into the future and/or difficult to manage away from their breeding nurseries. We report on studies targeting constitutively-expressed traits (e.g. increased rates of spike and grain-filling and increased coleoptile length) to establish their value proposition for increasing grain yield in future environments. The work supports the potential for higher rates of grain-filling and longer coleoptiles as traits where genetics are available now in pre-emptive selection in breeding programs. Further, there is not expected to be any cost associated with these traits in grain yield or quality, or in cooler, wetter seasons.

Metabolic responses relating to changes in N2 fixation of lentil (Lens culinaris MEDIK.) under contrasting growing seasons in a Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) facility

Shahnaj Parvin1 2 3, Shihab Uddin4 5, Markus Löw5, Ute Roessner6, Sabine Tausz-Posch9, Garry O’Leary7, Glenn Fitzgerald5 7, Roger Armstrong7 8, Michael Tausz9

1Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia

2 Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia

3School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Creswick, VIC, Australia.
4NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, Wagga Wagga, Australia.

5Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Creswick, VIC, Australia.

6School of BioSciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

7Agriculture Victoria, 110 Natimuk Road, Horsham, VIC 3400, Australia.

8Department of Animal, Plant and Soil Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.

9Department of Agriculture, Science and Environment, School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences,

CQUniversity, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia.




Elevated CO2 (e[CO2]) can stimulate N2 fixation of legumes via increases in photosynthetic carbon supply to symbionts. N2 fixation mechanisms are highly sensitive to drought but little is known about changes in nodule metabolism under e[CO2] and water restriction. To address these challenges, N2 fixation and changes of carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolic profiles were investigated in lentil (Lens culinaris MEDIK.) grown under ambient [CO2] (~400 ppm) and e[CO2] (~550 ppm) in the Australian Grain Free Air CO2 Enrichment (AGFACE) facility over two seasons with strongly contrasting rainfall. Elevated [CO2] stimulated N2 fixation to a greater extent in a wet season than in a dry season. The lower stimulation during a dry season was associated with decreased sugars and organic acids but increased concentration of sugar-alcohols and certain amino acids in nodules. Metabolic changes under e[CO2] may have contributed to mitigating drought impacts on N2 fixation of lentil.

Interactive effect of elevated CO2 and supplemental N on above- and belowground growth and water use of dryland wheat

Shihab Uddin1 2 3 *, Shahnaj Parvin3 4, Markus Löw2, Sabine Tausz-Posch5, Roger Armstrong6 7, Garry O’Leary6, Glenn Fitzgerald2 6, Michael Tausz5

1NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650, Australia.

2Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Creswick, VIC, Australia.

3Department of Agronomy, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, Bangladesh.
4School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Creswick, VIC, Australia.

5Department of Agriculture, Science and Environment, School of Health and Applied Sciences, CQUniversity Australia, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia.

6Agriculture Victoria, 110 Natimuk Road, Horsham, VIC 3400, Australia.

7Department of Animal, Plant and Soil Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia

*Corresponding author: email:


Elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration (e[CO2]) stimulates biomass and yield of crops through the ‘CO2 fertilisation effect’. Stimulation of biomass with supplemental nitrogen (N) under e[CO2] may influence water use dynamics, which is particularly important in relatively low yielding dryland Mediterranean regions where timing of water limitations interacts with N availability and intra-seasonal variability is high. This study investigated the interactive effect of N supply (with and without supplemental N) and [CO2] (ambient [CO2] and e[CO2]∼550 µmol mol-1) on aboveground biomass, root length and water use of two wheat cultivars putatively differing in N use efficiency using a Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) facility in Horsham, Victoria. Elevated [CO2] stimulated biomass and grain yield, and this stimulation was influenced by both cultivar and N supplementation. The observed differential response of cultivars to e[CO2] and N rates suggests that there is potential to select germplasm that maximises the benefit from CO2 fertilisation under a wide range of soil N availability.


Can N mitigate adverse effects of elevated temperature in wheat?

1.Mariano Cossani1, Daniel Cozzolino2, Victor Sadras1

1South Australian Research and Development Institute

2RMIT University


Delaying sowing reduced yield potential at 0.67 t/ha per °C of mean temperature during critical period for yield determination (20 days pre-10 days post anthesis). Good N nutrition and longer-season spring cultivars reduced the yield gaps in relation to temperature. Responses to N become more erratic when temperatures during the critical period increase above ~14.5 °C. Strategic N management (50-100 kg N/ha) may help to mitigate the effect of higher temperatures on grain number and yield.


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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