Improved auxin level at panicle initiation stage enhance the heat stress tolerance in rice plants

*Naeem Sarwar1, Atique-ur-Rehman1, Omer Farooq1, Allah Wasaya2, 1Suhail Saliq and 3Khuram Mubeen

1Department of Agronomy, Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan 6000, Pakistan; *Corresponding E-mail:

2College of Agriculture, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Bahadur Sub-Campus Layyah, Pakistan

3Department of Agronomy, MNS-UAM, Multan, Pakistan


High temperature especially at flowering stage is major yield limiting factor as a result of global warming. Rice plants are most sensitive to high temperature at reproductive stage which significantly enhances the pollen sterility. Reproductive stage demand optimum level of phytohormones like auxin and other energy producing compound. We assume that application of naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) may improve the auxin level in heat stressed plants which may improve the pollen viability and crop yield. Pot experiment was conducted to examine the application different concentrations of NAA (0, 10, 20, 30, 50 μmol L-1) on rice crop grown under natural and heat stressed environment at flowering stage. NAA was applied immediately after flowering and then subjected to heat stress later on for few hours. It was found that heat stress at flowering stage significantly reduced the rice crop yield and quality but exogenous application of Naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) improved the crop tolerance to heat stress which leads toward better crop productivity.

More Profit from Nitrogen Program: delivering cross-sector collaboration in NUE research

M.White1, A.Williams2, C.Phelps3, F.Driver4, Kock5

1 ICD Project Services, 13 Flannel Flower Fairway, Shoal Bay, NSW, 2315,,  

2 Cotton Research and Development Corporation, 2 Lloyd St, Narrabri NSW 2390, ,

3 Dairy Australia Ltd, 40 City Rd, Southbank, VIC 3006,,

4 Sugar Research Australia, 50 Meiers Rd, Indooroopilly QLD 4068,,

5Hort Innovation Australia Ltd, 606 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004,,


The More Profit from Nitrogen Program (MPfN) is a four year partnership between Australia’s four most intensive users of nitrogenous fertilisers:  cotton, dairy, sugar and horticulture. The Program is conducting research and development to the increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) across the four sectors whilst improving profitable and sustainable use. By better understanding the influence of contributing factors on NUE in farming systems, the Program is:

  • Generating greater knowledge and understanding of the interplay of factors to optimise N formulation, rate and timing across industries, farming regions and irrigated/ non-irrigated situations;
  • Generating greater knowledge and understanding of the contribution (quantifying rate and timing) of mineralisation to crop or pasture N budgets; and
  • Generating greater knowledge and understanding of how enhanced efficiency fertiliser (EEF) formulations can better match a crop or pasture specific N requirements.

The Program is supported by $5.889 million funding from the Australian Government’s Rural Research and Development (R&D) for Profit program in addition to cash and in-kind contributions from each of the industry sectors, research organisations and collaborating partners equating to $9.757 million.

The MPfN Program is at the mid-way point of research activities but is already resulting in a more collaborative research effort to accelerate aligned research methodology, standardising terminology to reduce confusion for industry end users and communicating NUE outcomes using common indicators across the four industry sectors. MPfN is a proactive collaboration formed to expedite NUE across Australia’s intensive cropping and grazing industries to reduce environmental impact and increase the long-term sustainability of Australian farming businesses by increasing yield, product quality and overall profitability

Benefits to wheat and canola from upfront nitrogen fertiliser even when following a legume

Therese McBeath 1, Pilar Muschietti-Piana1, Michael Moodie2, Andrew Ware3, Rick Llewellyn1 Vadakattu Gupta1

1 CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Locked Bag 2, Glen Osmond, SA, 5064

2 Mallee Sustainable Farming and Frontier Farming Systems, Mildura, Vic, 3400

3South Australian Research and Development Institute and EP Ag Research, Port Lincoln, SA, 5606


Despite recent increases of nitrogen (N) inputs and one of the highest levels of adoption of soil-specific inputs of N fertiliser, a crop yield gap attributable to N remains on sandy soils. Over a 5 year period inclusive of decile 1 through to decile 9 seasons we have explored the effects of the source, rate and timing of N for increased productivity and reduced economic risk in low rainfall wheat and canola crops. While N application at the optimal rate is a primary driver of productivity and can reduce risk, we have identified that the N input for both wheat and canola is relatively insensitive to the timing of application. Utilising legumes in the sequence does increase the supply of N in the system, but the best productivity outcomes came from feeding wheat and canola with N from both legumes and fertiliser. A hybrid canola option has been shown to offer further yield gains per unit N input.

Potential greenhouse gas savings from balanced fertilisation

Graeme Blair1, Nelly Blair2

1 Agronomy and Soil Science, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, 2350.

2 Ourfing Partnership, 640 Boorolong Rd., Armidale, NSW, 2350


World fertiliser consumption has moved largely to high analysis, non-sulfur containing products which, in many situations, has led to sulfur (S) deficiency and consequently reduced nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). Calculations on data from field experiments conducted in China with rice and soybeans have been used to estimate the reduction in N2O emissions resulting from addition of S to mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP). Balanced nutrition using MAP+S in two experiments in China resulted in an increase in NUE of 9.4% in flooded rice and 12.6% in soybeans. Assuming a loss of 20% of fertiliser N as N2O in flooded rice and 10% in soybeans the increased N usage by the crop results in a potential N2O saving of 3.9 and 1.2 kg N2O/ha, respectively, in the two crops.

Balanced fertilisation and crop residue management can also be used to abate agricultural CO2 emissions. Using data from an extensive field research program, it is estimated that addition of S to MAP in a temperate climate can result in an incremental CO2 sequestration in excess of 8 t CO2/t applied S and this can be increased a further 4% if crop residues are retained. The increased crop residue produced, and retained, as a result of balanced fertilisation resulted in an estimated incremental CO2 sequestration of 3.7 t CO2/t S applied in a tropical crop production system to 5.5 t CO2/t S applied in a temperate system.

Fertiliser N and P rates can be halved in sugar beet through bacterial inoculation

Hamid Hatami1, Mohammad Reza Tokalloo2, Mojtaba Ghanbarabadi3  and Soghra Kebriaie4

1,2 Faculty member, Bojnourd branch, Islamic Azad University, Bojnourd, Iran, Email:

3,4 Graduated Master of Science, Bojnourd branch, Islamic Azad University, Bojnourd, Iran, Email: 


In order to reduce the use of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilisers in sugar beet cultivation, an experiment was conducted in a completely randomized block design with four replications during 2017 in Iran. Experimental treatments were consisted of: no fertiliser application, 100% of currently recommended rates of  N and P fertiliser (110 kg N/ha as urea, 36 kg P/ha as triple superphosphate) and a combination of 75%, 50% and 25% of N and P with two bacterial inoculation products – “Phosphozist”, which contains phosphobacteria that cause soil P to become more readily available to plants, and “Nitrozist” containing free-living N-fixing Azotobacteria. The highest sugar yield of 6.8 t/ha was obtained with 50% of the recommended rate of N and P with both “Phosphozist” and “Nitrozist”. Lower yields were obtained at both 25% and 75% of recommended rates, and the 100% N and P rate without inoculation. The highest concentrations of N and K in the beet (which are contaminants in sugar beet) occurred at the 100% N and P rate without inoculation.  The results of the experiment showed that N and P application rates can be halved through inoculation with phosphobacteria and free-living N fixers.

Mid-row banding urea: effect on NUE and productivity in wheat and canola

Ashley Wallace1, Audrey Delahunty2, James Nuttall1

1 Agriculture Victoria, 110 Natimuk Rd, Horsham, Victoria, 3400,,
2 Agriculture Victoria, Cnr Eleventh St & Koorlong Ave, Irymple, Victoria 3498


Nitrogen (N) fertiliser is a key input to modern Australian cropping systems, however the efficiency with which it is utilised by crops varies significantly; in part due to competition from loss and immobilisation mechanisms. One option to address this is the use of mid-row banding (MRB), where N is applied in concentrated bands between every second pair of crop rows, potentially reducing N loss and slowing crop access to applied N thereby improving nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and productivity. In 2018 two field trials were established in Victoria to assess the utility of mid-row banding N to wheat and canola at sowing compared with other methods including banding below the seed and surface application post sowing. Nitrogen was applied as urea either in solution or granular at rates of 25 and 50kg N/ha. Banding N either below the seed or mid-row increased grain yield of wheat (9 to 16%) and canola (2 to 7%) compared with surface application. This was associated with significant increases in crop recovery of fertiliser N, and reduced fertiliser loss (up to 40%). Mid-row banding also showed potential to increase grain protein (2 to 7%) in wheat compared with all other methods of application. These results suggest that applying N fertiliser by mid-row banding may have scope for improving NUE of dryland crops in similar environments.


Effect of phosphorus fertiliser at sowing on canola (Brassica napus L.) yield responses under waterlogged conditions

Dilnee Suraweera1, Malcolm McCaskill1, Penny Riffkin1, Debra Partington1, Jamie Smith1, Irma Grimmer1, and Tony Dickson1

1 Agriculture Victoria Research, 915 Mt Napier Rd, Hamilton Victoria 3300, Australia


Yield potential of canola in the high rainfall zone in the south-west Victoria is higher than most other parts of Australia due to higher rainfall and longer growing season. However, in some years it is constrained by waterlogging during winter and early spring. Adequate phosphorus (P) fertiliser at sowing is critical in achieving high canola yields. Data were collected in 2017 growing season from canola field plots affected by waterlogging in an experiment conducted with a range of soil P fertility levels at the Long-term Phosphate Experiment (LTPE) site in Hamilton, Victoria. The aim of this study was to examine the canola yield responses to additional P fertilizer at sowing under different waterlogging regimes. A scale was developed to assess the severity of waterlogging at the start of flowering (GS 4.1) and full flowering (GS 4.9) stages. At grain maturity, plants were harvested separately based on the scale. Grain yield, grain number, non-grain biomass, 1000-grain weight and harvest index were determined. In 2017, the growing season rainfall was greater than the long-term average particularly over August-September resulting in significant waterlogging over this period which coincides with the canola bud visible and flowering stages. Response relationship showed that canola grain yield significantly increased (R2= 0.84, p<0.001), in response to P fertilizer application at sowing. This response to P was greatest for non-waterlogged plants and was progressively lower as the magnitude of waterlogging increased. Waterlogged plots reduced canola grain yield by 38-62% compared to non-waterlogged plots under the range of applied P fertilizer rates. There was a significant interaction between P fertilization and waterlogging in most of the parameters measured. Therefore, enhanced P fertilization at sowing with non-limiting levels of other nutrients has potential to increase canola grain yield under waterlogged conditions. But the response of canola grain yield to P fertilizer at sowing is reduced with increasing waterlogging severities. These findings will be useful to understand the P fertilizer requirements for canola growing in waterlogging-prone soils.

Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency in the High Rainfall Zone of south western Victoria.

Stephen O’Connor 1, Frank Henry1 and Ashley Wallace2, 

1Agriculture Victoria, 915 Mt Napier Rd, Hamilton, Vic, 3300,,
2Agriculture Victoria, 110 Natimuk Rd, Horsham, Vic, 3400


In the south west of Victoria, large grain yields have been achieved by broadcast nitrogen at stem elongation (Z31). However, due to the high annual rainfall of the region (600 mm) a high frequency of denitrification can reduce efficacy of nitrogen and in turn lower yields.

It is possible that mid-row banding nitrogen at sowing would reduce losses from denitrification and give better return on fertiliser investment. This trial showed in the 2018/19 season at Inverleigh, there was no advantage to mid-row band over broadcasting nitrogen at Z31 in a lower rainfall year (decile 1-2 year). To achieve a more conclusive result it would be beneficial to continue mid row banding research to gather data about the practise over several seasons to determine its long-term viability. 

Crop response to deep placement of phosphorus in a Vertosol soil in the Northern Grains Region of NSW.

Thomas Tendo Mukasa Mugerwa1*, Ricky Graham1 and Peter Formann1.

1 New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Tamworth NSW 2340

(*Corresponding author –


The fertile soils of the Northern Grains Region supported cropping for many years before yields started to become limited due to nutrient availability. Phosphorus (P) is a key plant nutrient which has traditionally been applied as starter fertiliser, with the seed. However, due to the relative immobility of P, P rundown in subsoil (10-30 cm) readily occurs in soils in the Northern Grains Region. This is beneath both where starter fertiliser is placed and where plant matter is returned. Low levels of phosphorus in the subsoil can have significant impacts on crop yield, particularly during periods where the topsoil (0-10 cm) is dry. The aim of this experiment was to investigate whether or not placing P at depth would increase grain yields of crops growing in a Vertosol under limited rainfall. An experimental site with varying rates of deep-placed P was established at Gurley, New South Wales (NSW), in 2015. In 2017, a wheat crop was sown within these varying P treatments in the presence or absence of starter fertiliser.   Where starter fertiliser was applied, a significant yield response was recorded where deep-placed P was applied at a rate of 80 kg P/ha.  Results of this study demonstrated the potential impact on wheat yields of placing P deeper in the profile.Ultimately, the 4 rights (4Rs) of nutrient stewardship should be closely followed in order to increase the chances of getting a favourable return on nutrient application.

Critical Colwell P values for wheat and canola in the high rainfall zone

Malcolm McCaskill1, Penny Riffkin1, Amanda Pearce2, Brendan Christy3, Rob Norton4, Andrew Speirs5, Angela Clough6, Jon Midwood7, Debra Partington1

1Agriculture Victoria Research, 915 Mt Napier Rd, Hamilton Victoria 3300, Australia.,
2SARDI, 74 Struan House Road, Struan, South Australia, 5271, Australia.
3Agriculture Victoria Research, 124 Chiltern Valley Road, Rutherglen Victoria 3685, Australia,
4Norton Agronomic, 54 Florence St, Horsham, Victoria 3400, Australia,
5Meridian Agriculture, 32 Henty St, Casterton, Victoria 3311, Australia.,
6Agriculture Victoria, 402-406 Mair St, Ballarat, Victoria 335, Australia.,
7Southern Farming Systems, 23 High St, Inverleigh, Victoria 3321, Australia.


Soil test interpretation criteria for cropping in the high rainfall zone (HRZ) have been derived from empirical experiments in areas of lower rainfall. To derive Colwell P values for the HRZ at which 90% of maximum yield could be expected, a series of P response experiments were conducted in southern Victoria and adjacent regions. These covered 12 site-years for wheat and 10 site-years for canola, and were combined with 4 site-years for wheat that had been conducted previously in the region. The critical Colwell-P value was 37 mg/kg for wheat and 41 mg/kg for canola. These values are higher than those derived from trials in areas of Australia’s grain belt receiving lower rainfall than the HRZ (21 and 20 mg/kg respectively). For wheat the difference appears to be related to a higher phosphate buffering index (PBI) in soils of the HRZ, while for canola possible reasons include a combination of high PBI, high yield potential and its poor waterlogging tolerance.



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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