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Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Wheat grain yield response to and translocation of foliar-applied phosphorus

T. M. McBeath A C , M. J. McLaughlin A B and S. R. Noack A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide, PMB 1, Waite Campus, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.

B CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship, CSIRO Land and Water, PMB 2, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: therese.mcbeath@adelaide.edu.au

Crop and Pasture Science 62(1) 58-65 https://doi.org/10.1071/CP10237
Submitted: 13 July 2010  Accepted: 14 December 2010   Published: 12 January 2011

Abstract

It is important to apply phosphorus (P) to the soil at the beginning of the crop growth cycle to provide essential P for early growth and to replace P exported in previous crops. With low rates of P added at sowing there may be sufficient P supply to grow crops to tillering, but in seasons of increased yield potential a top-up application of P may be required. Foliar P can be applied directly to the plant when required and in some cases have been shown to provide benefits for increasing P-use efficiency and the P concentration in grain.

Wheat (Triticuum aestivum cv. Frame) was grown in two soils of marginal P status with soil moisture maintained at 80% of field capacity. Seven foliar P treatments labelled with 33P as a tracer were applied at Zadoks growth stage 39, at 1.65 kg P/ha with 120 L water/ha equivalent. Grain, chaff and shoots were harvested to measure yield and then digested to measure P concentrations and 33P activities. There was no crop response to top-up soil or foliar P on one soil, but on the other soil, foliar phosphoric acid plus adjuvant gave a 25% wheat grain yield response. The use of the tracing technique enabled measurement of the portioning of foliar P fertiliser between stem, chaff and grain. The most responsive treatment had the greatest amount of grain P uptake and the greatest partitioning of the foliar P fertiliser to grain.

Additional keywords: dryland cereals, fertilisers, isotopic tracing, nutrient management.


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