Evaluation of Nitrogen Balance in Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Cropping Systems of Iran

Document Type : Scientific - Research


1 Instructor Research of Crop and Horticultural Science Research Department, Khorasan Razavi, Mashhad, Iran Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Mashhad,

2 Department of Agrotechnology, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferodwsi University Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran.

3 Department of Agricultural and Horticultural Research, Khorasan Razavi Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Training Center, Mashhad, Iran


The nitrogen budget or balance is often evaluated by comparing various nitrogen inputs and outputs in soil–crop systems. Research on nitrogen balance can provide more detailed information on the nitrogen cycle and its losses by integrating soil nitrogen processes with the total nitrogen budgets. There are restricted researches for evaluation of nitrogen balances in the cropping systems. It is clear that accurate measuring of each component of nitrogen budgets in relation to soil processes is difficult. Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is the main cereal crop cultivated in Iran. According to published data the average nitrogen application rates in wheat cropping systems of Iran is 120 kg.ha-1 but, the excessive use of fertilizer nitrogen is very common in wheat fields. It is estimated that in Iran, about 2.2 million ha of wheat production areas are under irrigation. Alike, there are limited studies on nitrogen dynamics, budgets and its losses pathways in wheat production systems of Iran. Such studies are essential to understand the nitrogen behavior and balance in wheat cropping systems. This research was carried out with the aim of evaluating nitrogen balance of wheat cropping systems with different climatic conditions over the country by using CENTURY model.
Materials and Methods
We used CENTURY model (Parton et al., 1994) to evaluate nitrogen dynamics and nitrogen balance in wheat cropping systems. For this purpose 14 wheat cropping system located in diverse climates were selected. Soil data was collected from Soil and Water Research Institute and weather data from 2000 to 2014 were obtained from Iran Meteorological Organization for 14 selected stations. The CENTURY model simulates the long-term dynamics of Carbon (C) and Nitrogen (N), for different Plant-Soil Systems. The model can simulate the dynamics of agricultural crop systems. The crop system of CENTURY have different plant production sub-models which are linked to a common soil organic matter sub-model .The soil organic matter sub-model simulates the flow of C, N through plant litter and the different inorganic and organic pools in the soil. CENTURY model runs in monthly time step with monthly precipitation (cm), monthly mean minimum and maximum temperature (°C), site latitude and longitude, sand, silt and clay (%), soil bulk density (g.cm-3), rooting depth (cm), C and N content of the top 20 cm of soil and management information such as planting date, first and last month of wheat growth, number and amounts of applied fertilizers, amount of irrigation water and its schedules are required. For model validation we used two statistical measures including Normalized Root Mean Squared Error (nRMSE), Willmott (1982) index of agreement (d value) and linear regression coefficients between actual and predicted values.
Results and Discussion
Results revealed that the highest nitrogen input in wheat cropping systems (9.5 - 12.5 g.m-2) was observed in Northwest, West and Southwest and the lowest (7.3 - 9.4 g.m-2) were in East and Southeast areas of the country. Also, nitrogen output plan in wheat cropping systems was similar to nitrogen input. In addition, stepwise regression analysis indicated that fertilizer application rate with partial coefficient of 97.33% and grain nitrogen with partial coefficient of 92.79%, respectively, were the most important variables in relation to nitrogen input and output in wheat cropping systems of Iran.
According to the results, it seems that in relation to nitrogen input, the role of agronomic management such as fertilizer application, coincidence of fertilizer application time with plant requirement and increasing nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) which is mostly dependent on agricultural management are important issues. But in the case of nitrogen outputs from wheat cropping systems, in addition to agronomic managements, use of improved cultivars with higher nitrogen uptake efficiency is more important.


Annabi Milani, A., 2007. Interaction of irrigation regimes and nitrogen sources on grain yield and water use efficiency of wheat. Agroecology Journal 2: 43-56. (In Persian with English Summary)
Annual report of wheat breeding program (Bread and Drum). 2013. SPII. Karaj, Iran.
Annual report of wheat breeding program (Bread and Drum). 2014. SPII. Karaj, Iran.
Arora, A., Mohan, J., 1999. Ammonia volatilization during moisture stress from wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) plant canopy. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 37: 701-705.
Bahrani, A., and Tahmasebi Sarvestani, Z., 2007. Effect of rate and times of nitrogen application on accumulation and remobilization efficiency of flag leaf in two wheat cultivars. Journal of Water and Soil Science 11: 147-155. (In Persian with English Summary)
Bakhshaie, S., Rezvani Moghaddam, P., and Goldani, M., 2014. The effects of nitroxin and nitrogen fertilizer on yield and yield components of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Journal of Iranian Field Crop Research 12: 360-368. (In Persian with English Summary)
Barbosa, P., Camia, A., Kucera, J., Liberta, G., Palumbo, I., San-Miguel-Ayanz, J., and Schmuck, G., 2008. Assessment of forest fire impacts and emissions in the European Union based on the European Forest Fire Information System. Developments in Environmental Science 8: 197-208.
Bateman, E., and Baggs, E., 2005. Contributions of nitrification and denitrification to N2O emissions from soils at different water-filled pore space. Biology and Fertility of Soils 41: 379-388.
Bishop, P., and Manning, M., 2010. Urea Volatilisation: The Risk Management and Mitigation Strategies. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre, Massey University.
Black, A.S., Sherlock, R.R., Smith, N.P., Cameron, K.C., and Goh, K.M., 1985 b. Effects of form of nitrogen, season, and urea application rate on ammonia volatilisation from pastures. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 28: 469–474.
Boswell, F.C., Meisinger, J.J., and Case, W.L., 1985. Production, marketing and use of nitrogen fertilizers. In: Fertilizer Technology and Use. 3 rd Ed. SSSA Madison, WI 229-292 pp.
Brun, F., Wallach, D., Makowski, D., and Jones, J.W., 2006. Working with dynamic crop models: evaluation, analysis, parameterization, and applications, Elsevier.
Butterbach-Bahl, K., Gundersen, P., Ambus, P., Augustin, J., Beier, C., Boeckx, P., Dannenmann, M., Sanchez Gimeno, B., Ibrom, A., and Kiese, R., 2011. Nitrogen processes in terrestrial ecosystems. The European nitrogen assessment: sources, effects and policy perspectives, pp. 99-125.
Cameron, K., Di, H., and Moir, J., 2013. Nitrogen losses from the soil/plant system: a review. Annals of Applied Biology 162: 145-173.
Chien, S.H., Prochnow, L.I., Cantarella, H., and Donald, L.S., 2009. Recent developments of fertilizer production and use to improve nutrient efficiency and minimize environmentalimpacts. Advances in Agronomy 102: 268–322.
Deihimfard, R., Mahallati, M.N., and Koocheki, A., 2015. Yield gap analysis in major wheat growing areas of Khorasan province, Iran, through crop modelling. Field Crops Research 184: 28-38.
Delgado, J., and Shaffer, M., 2008. Nitrogen Management Modeling Techniques: Assessing Cropping Systems/Landscape Combinations.
Di, H., and Cameron, K., 2002. Nitrate leaching in temperate agroecosystems: sources, factors and mitigating strategies. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 64: 237-25.
Fageria, N., and Baligar, V., 2005. Enhancing nitrogen use efficiency in crop plants. Advances in Agronomy 88: 97-185.
Gerami, F., Aynehband, A., and Fateh, E., 2013. Effect of green manures and nitrogen fertilizer levels on early growth, yield and yield components of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Journal of Sustainable Agriculture and Production Science 23: 1-17. (In Persian with English Summary)
Farshid, R., Zamani,G., Behdani, M., and Sahrai, E., 2012. Effects of salinity and nitrogen application methods on yield and yield components of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Journal of Iranian Field Crop Research 10: 18-24. (In Persian with English Summary)
Harper, L.A., and and Sharpe, R.R., 1995. Nitrogen dynamics in irrigated corn: soil-plant nitrogen and atmospheric ammonia transport. Agronomy Journal 87: 669-675.
Hosseini, R., Galeshi, S., Soltani, A., and Kalateh, M., 2011. The effect of nitrogen on yield and yield component in modern and old wheat cultivars. Electronic Journal of Crop Producation 4: 187-200. (In Persian with English Summary)
Farquhar, G.D., Firth, P.M., Wetselaar, R., and Weir, B., 1980. On the gaseous exchange of ammonia between leaves and the environment: determination of the ammonia compensation point. Plant Physiology 66: 710-714.
Kemanian, A.R., Stöckle, C.O., and Huggins, D.R., 2007. Estimating grain and straw nitrogen concentration in grain crops based on aboveground nitrogen concentration and harvest index. Agronomy journal 99: 158-165.
Khasseh Serjani, A., Farahbakhsh, H., Ravari, S.Z., Pasandipoor, N., and Karami, A., 2011. Evaluation the effect of biological, zinc sulphate and nitrogen fertilizer on quantitative and qualitative characteristics of wheat yield .Iranian Journal of Soil Research 25: 125-135. (In Persian with English Summary)
Koocheki, A., Nassiri Mahallati, M., Soltani, A., Sharifi, H., and Ghorbani, R., 2006. Effects of climate change on growth criteria and yield of sunflower and chickpea crops in Iran. Climate Research 30: 247-253.
Koocheki, A., Nassiri Mahallati, M., Mansoori, H., and Moradi, R., 2012. Assessment of nitrogen flow and use efficiency in the course of production to utilization for wheat and maize in Iran. Journal of Agroecology 4(3): 192-200. (In Persian with English Summary)
Linacre, E.T., 1977. A simple formula for estimating evaporation rates in various climates, usingtemperature data alone. Agricultural Meteorology 18: 409-424.
Liu, X., Ju, X., Zhang, F., Pan, J., and Christie, P., 2003. Nitrogen dynamics and budgets in a winter wheat–maize cropping system in the North China Plain. Field Crops Research 83: 111-124.
Mdhej, A., Naderi, A., Imam, Y., Aynehband, A., and Normohamadi, G., 2009. Effect of different nitrogen level on grain yield , grain protein content and agronomic nitrogen use efficiency in wheat genotypes under optimum and post- anthesis heat stress conditions. Seed and Plant Production Journal 25: 353-371. (In Persian with English Summary)
Morgan, J.A., and Parton, W.J., 1989. Characteristics of ammonia volatilization from spring wheat. Crop Science 29: 726-731.
Nassiri, M., Koocheki, A., Kamali, G., and Shahandeh, H., 2006. Potential impact of climate change on rainfed wheat production in Iran: (Potentieller Einfluss des Klimawandels auf die Weizenproduktion unter Rainfed-Bedingungen im Iran). Archives of Agronomy and soil Science 52: 113-124.
Parry, M.L., Canziani, O.F., Palutikof, J.P., Van der Linden, P.J., and Hanson, C.E., 2007. IPCC, 2007: Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Parton, W., McKeown, R., Kirchner, V., and Ojima, D., 1992. Users guide for the CENTURY model.
Parton, W.J., and Rasmussen, P., 1994. Long-term effects of crop management in wheat-fallow: II. CENTURY model simulations. Soil Science Society of America Journal 58: 530-536.
Parton, W., 1996. The CENTURY model. Evaluation of soil organic matter models. Springer 283-291.
Pourazari, F., Ehsanzade, p., and Jahanbin, S., 2011. Response of hulled tetraploid wheats to nitrogen deficit stress in comparison to macaroni wheat. Iranian Journal of Field Crop Science 42: 285-294.
Shaffer, M.J., Ma, L., and Hansen, S., 2010. Modeling carbon and nitrogen dynamics for soil management, CRC Press.
Shahabifar, M., and Daryashenas, A., 2004. Increase of N use efficiency in wheat fertigation method by optimum split N at growth stage. Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization. Soil and Water Research Institute. 44674. (In Persian with English Summary)
Statistical year book., 2013. Department of Agricultural Statistics. Jihad-e-Agriculture Ministry, Iran. 167 p. (In Persian)
Sommer, S.G., Schjoerring, J.K., and Denmead, O.T., 2004. Ammonia emission from mineral fertilizers and fertilized crops. Advances in Agronomy 82: 558–622.
Stevenson, F.; 1985. Cycles of soil: Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, micronutrients. Cycles of soil: carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, micronutrients.
Stockdale, E., Gaunt, J., and Vos, J., 1997. Soil-plant nitrogen dynamics: what concepts are required? European Journal of Agronomy 7: 145-159.
Sogbedji, J.M., Van Es, H.M., Yang, C.L., Geohring, L.D., and Magdoff, F.R., 2000. Nitrate leaching and nitrogen budget as affected by maize nitrogen rate and soil type. Journal of Environmental Quality 29: 1813-1820.
Soltani, A., Khooie, F., Ghassemi-Golezani, K., and Moghaddam, M., 2001. A simulation study of chickpea crop response to limited irrigation in a semiarid environment. Agricultural Water Management 49: 225-237.
Sugimoto, R., and Tsuboi, T., 2016. Seasonal and annual fluxes of atmospheric nitrogen deposition and riverine nitrogen export in two adjacent contrasting rivers in central Japan facing the Sea of Japan. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies.
Sutton, M.A., Howard, C.M., Erisman, J.W., Billen, G., Bleeker, A., Grennfelt, P., Van Grinsven, H., and Grizzetti, B. 2011. The European nitrogen assessment: sources, effects and policy perspectives, Cambridge University Press.
Taghipoor, F., 2005. The effect of nitrogen sources on the yield and quality of wheat. AgriculturalResearch Education and Extension Organization p. 84-955. (In Persian)
Thomson, A.J., Giannopoulos, G., Pretty, J., Baggs, E.M., and Richardson, D.J., 2012. Biological sources and sinks of nitrous oxide and strategies to mitigate emissions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 367: 1157–1168.
Wallach, D., and Goffinet, B., 1989. Mean squared error of prediction as a criterion for evaluating and comparing system models. Ecological Modelling 44: 299-306.
Williams, J., Dyke, P., and Jones, C., 1983. EPIC-A model for assessing the effects of erosion on soil productivity. Analysis of ecological systems: state-of-the-art in ecological modelling: proceedings, 24-28 May 1982, Colorado State Univ., Ft. Collins, Colo./edited by WK Lauenroth, GV Skogerboe, M. Flug.
Willmott, C.J., 1982. Some comments on the evaluation of model performance. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 63: 1309-1313.
Yang, J., Yang, J., Liu, S., and Hoogenboom, G., 2014. An evaluation of the statistical methods for testing the performance of crop models with observed data. Agricultural Systems 127: 81-89.