Dry weight, nutrient content and other properties of winter wheat were measured from anthesis to maturity between 1969 and 1984. From 1969 to 1978 the cultivar Capelle- Desprez was grown either as a first wheat, in the rotation potatoes, beans, wheat, or as a second wheat, in the rotation fallow, wheat, wheat. From 1979 to 1984 the cv. Flanders was grown in the rotation fallow, potatoes, wheat and in this period the wheat was given fungicide sprays. Grain yield of Cappelle-Desprez grown as a first wheat was greater with 96 than with 144 kg N/ha in spring. First wheats yielded much more than second wheats with 96, but not with 144 kg N/ha. Second wheats had more eyespot and take-all, but less mildew, than first wheats. Mildew was more severe with the larger amount of N. Grain yield of Flanders as a first wheat was greater than that of Cappelle-Desprez. Yield of Flanders was greater with 144 than with 96 kg N/ha and it was greater still on plots given 96 kg Nha plus 35 t/ha farmyard manure. Other properties in addition to grain yield were changed by cultivar, rotation and manuring.
Examination of the variation between years showed relationships among properties and between some of them and grain yield. Many of the relationships were independent of cultivar or husbandry. Relationships between weather factors and some properties, but not grain yield, were detected. Grain yield of first wheats was closely related to number of grains/m2, but the relative importance of number of ears/m2 and number of grains per ear varied from year to year. Yield was positively related to dry weight per grain in Flanders, but negatively in Cappelle-Desprez. The weight of straw was usually less than that of the total above-ground crop at anthesis, but varied between years in a similar manner. The amount of N in grain plus straw was generally well related to the amount of N in the wheat at anthesis, although the changes in N content after anthesis ranged from a loss of 9 kg/ha to a gain of 51 kg/ha. The uptake of N, P and K was more closely related to dry weight than to nutrient concentration.
Variation between years in the proportion in the ear of 14C supplied to the flag leaf was similar to that of 14C supplied to the next lower leaf, but was different for 14C supplied before and after anthesis, and did not relate to other properties.
Date of anthesis ranged from 7 June to 5 July. A model incorporating responses to photoperiod, vernalization and temperature accounted for 78% of the variance in date of anthesis. The duration of the period from anthesis to leaf senescence ranged from 33 to 60 days and was linearly related to mean temperature above a base of 7·5 °C. Dry weight per grain was negatively correlated with mean temperature between anthesis and leaf senescence; a relationship including an adjustment for number of grains/m2 fitted both cultivars.
The amount of N in grain plus straw and percentage of N in grain dry matter were decreased by increased rainfall during the 3-week period following the application of N fertilizer in spring. An additional 10 mm of rain decreased N uptake by 2–8 kg/ha and N percentage by 0·055. N uptake in grain plus straw decreased with progressively later sowing. Grain N% was positively correlated with temperature and with radiation during parts of the period of grain growth, but only 10% of the variance was accounted for by the combined effects.