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A species-specific critical nitrogen dilution curve for sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.)

AuthorsDebaeke, Philippe; Oosterom, E. J. van; Justes, Éric; Champolivier, L.; Merrien, A.; Aguirrezabal, L. A. N.; González-Dugo, Victoria ; Massingnam, A. M.; Montemurro, F.
Issue DateSep-2012
CitationField Crops Research 136: 76-84 (2012)
AbstractFor annual and perennial crops, mathematical models have been developed to describe tissue nitrogen (N) dilution during crop growth and to estimate the plant N status applying the N nutrition index (NNI), the ratio between the actual tissue N concentration ([N]) and the tissue N concentration needed to obtain the maximum instantaneous crop growth rate (critical tissue N concentration, [N] c). The relationship between shoot [N] c and shoot dry matter (DM, tha -1) can be described by an allometric power equation: [N] c=aDM -b, where a and b are crop-specific parameters. Critical N dilution curves (CNDC) have been determined for several C 3 crops but not specifically for sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). The objectives of this work were to (i) determine and validate the N dilution curves for critical, minimum, and maximum [N] for sunflower from the juvenile stages to the end of flowering, (ii) compare the critical curve with published CNDCs for other C 3 crops, and (iii) estimate the range of variation of NNI for different levels of N fertilization and irrigation. A wide range of field experiments from Argentina, Australia, France, Italy, and Spain was used to establish the dilution curve for sunflower and to independently validate it. The fitted CNDC [N] c=4.53DM -0.42 yielded lower values for [N] c than references used until now for diagnosis and decision making in sunflower. The value of parameter a was generally similar to that of other C 3 species, but the value for parameter b differed. This was possibly associated with species differences in dry mass partitioning, and justified the development of a sunflower-specific CNDC. A preliminary reference curve for maximum [N] suggested an evolution from the juvenile stages to the end of flowering similar to that of [N] c. Minimum [N], in contrast, appeared to be more constant over time. Relationships between relative grain yield and NNI across a range of locations indicated that in general, maximum grain yield was reached around NNI=0.8, although at one location this was around NNI=1.0. The CNDC can provide useful applications for crop modeling, N status diagnosis, and N fertilization decision. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.fcr.2012.07.024
issn: 0378-4290
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