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Title: Managing Nitrogen to Optimise Sunflower Yield and Oil content
Contributor(s): Serafin, Loretta (author); Belfield, Stephanie (author); Herridge, David  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2010
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Abstract: Optimising grain yields and oil contents of sunflower within seasonal climatic constraints is critical to maximising profitability. While yields have on average continued to increase, growers often struggle to achieve oil contents above the industry standard of 40%. Since a bonus/discount system applies for oil contents above or below 40%, it would be beneficial for farmers to have tools available to target particular oil contents. The balance of nitrate and water in the soil profile at sowing has been utilised to target protein contents of cereal crops. Protein and oil contents of grains are inversely related. Thus, we hypothesised that a similar approach could be used to target oil contents of sunflower. Data on soil nitrate and water levels (1.5m depth) at sowing, grain yield and oil contents were collected from four nitrogen rate experiments in northern New South Wales and subjected to regression analysis. Fertiliser N rates were zero, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150 and 200 kg N/ha. Sowing soil water levels were in the range 137-207 mm. As nitrogen supply increased and the ratio of soil nitrate:water increased from 0.35 to 1.8, grain oil contents declined from 45 to 37%. Grain yields showed a slight decline through the nitrate:water range also. Matching nitrate:water at ratios 0.5-1.0 optimised oil contents above the required industry standard of 40% as well as grain yield. Oil contents were, on average, <40% when the nitrate:water ratio was >1.0. These results suggest that sunflower oil contents may be more specifically targeted and fertiliser N inputs more accurately determined for optimum profitability.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: Australian Summer Grains Conference: 'Opportunity through Unity', Gold Coast, Australia, 21st - 24th June, 2010
Conference Details: Australian Summer Grains Conference: 'Opportunity through Unity', Gold Coast, Australia, 21st - 24th June, 2010
Source of Publication: Proceedings of the 1st Australian Summer Grains Conference, p. 1-5
Publisher: Grains Research and Development Corporation
Place of Publication: online
Field of Research (FOR): 070306 Crop and Pasture Nutrition
070302 Agronomy
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 829899 Environmentally Sustainable Plant Production not elsewhere classified
820499 Summer Grains and Oilseeds not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: E1 Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
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Series Name: Edited Paper
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Appears in Collections:Conference Publication
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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