Yield and nitrogen use efficiency of winter wheat with different soil fertility

  • Xiaosong Lu
  • Dongsheng YuEmail author
  • Yang Chen
  • Zhichao Xu
  • Jingjing Huang
  • Congcong Zhou
  • Yue Pan
Original Article


Both the existing soil fertility and fertilizer application have important influences on crop yield and nitrogen (N) use efficiency, but knowledge about their interaction is still lacking. The interaction of N application and integrated soil fertility index on grain yield and N fertilizer use efficiency such as N recovery efficiency, soil N dependency rate, and N contribution rate of wheat was studied through 2-year in situ tests in Changshu County of the Taihu Lake region, China. The results indicated that there are desirable quantitative relationships among the assessment indices, N application level and integrated soil fertility index. The regression coefficients showed that the ratio of the relative contribution of soil fertility and N application level to wheat yield was 0.48:1, and their contribution ratios to fertilizer N utilization efficiencies were 1.10:1, 1.45:1 and 1.93:1, respectively. The effects of both soil fertility and N application level on yield and N recovery efficiency indicated that it is difficult to simultaneously improve yield and N recovery efficiency of wheat by improving soil fertility when attempting to maximize yield. Only by enhancing soil fertility, reducing the N application level and decreasing the maximum yield, can high levels of N recovery efficiency be achieved. For this study, a ratio of N application level decrement to integrated soil fertility increment greater than 0.89 was necessary to increase the N recovery efficiency to 55%. Under this optimal condition, the reduction in N application level was 16%, and the mean yield loss of wheat was only 8%.


Integrated soil fertility N application level Fertilizer N utilization efficiencies Winter wheat Taihu Lake region in China 



Grain yield


Integrated soil fertility index


N application level


Ratio of N application level to the maximum application level in this study


N contribution rate


N recovery efficiency


Soil N dependency rate


The NA, GY, NCR, NRE, SNDR under the condition of pursuing the maximum yield


The NA, GY, NCR, NRE, SNDR under the condition of pursuing the highest NRE



This paper was supported by the Special project of the national key research and development program (No. 2016YFD0200301), the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41571206), the Special project of the national science and technology basic work (No. 2015FY110700-S2), and the Key project of science and technology service (STS) network of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. 2018STS-01).

Supplementary material

10705_2019_10033_MOESM1_ESM.docx (690 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 689 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaosong Lu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dongsheng Yu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Yang Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhichao Xu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jingjing Huang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Congcong Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yue Pan
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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