Three successive field experiments (2000/01–2002/03) assessed the effect of wheat cultivar (Consort, Hereward and Shamrock) and fungicide (epoxiconazole and azoxystrobin) applied at and after flag leaf emergence on the nitrogen in the above-ground crop (Total N) and grain (Grain N), net nitrogen remobilization from non-grain tissues (Remobilized N), grain dry matter (Grain DM), and nitrogen utilization efficiency (NUtEg=Grain DM/Total N). Ordinary logistic curves were fitted to the accumulation of Grain N, Grain DM and Remobilized N against thermal time after anthesis and used to simultaneously derive fits for Total N and NUtEg.
When disease was controlled, Consort achieved the greatest Grain DM, Total N, Grain N and NUtEg; in each case due mostly to longer durations, rather than quicker rates, of accumulation. Fungicide application increased final Grain DM, Grain N, Total N and Remobilized N, also mostly through effects on duration rather than rate of accumulation. Completely senesced leaf laminas retained less nitrogen when fungicide had been applied compared with leaf laminas previously infected severely with brown rust (Puccinia recondita) and Septoria tritici, or with just S. tritici. Late movement of nitrogen out of fungicide-treated laminas contributed to extended duration of both nitrogen remobilization and grain N filling, and meant that increases in NUtEg could occur without simultaneous reductions in grain N concentration.