California Crop Fertilization Guidelines

UC Davis
A collaboration between CDFA, FREP and UC Davis

Wheat Nitrogen Uptake and Partitioning

The Fertilization guidelines can also be found on the UC Davis Nutrient Management website .

Seasonal N Uptake

Season N Uptake Curve Graph

Nitrogen uptake of wheat determined by harvesting the aboveground biomass at different times during the growing season. Wheat took up little N until tillering. Most N was taken up between tillering and flowering [4].

Nitrogen Partitioning

Nitrogen partitioning pie chart

At maturity, about three fourths of the aboveground N has been found to be in the grains, while one fourth is in the straw [2,4].

Nitrogen Removed at Harvest

Nitrogen removed with harvested grains of common and durum wheat. The overall average is weighted for the number of observations in each trial. More information can be found here [1].

Common wheat

Location Years Removal (lbs N/ton at 12% moisture) Source
    Mean Range  
Sacramento Valley 2015 45.5 39.7-52.7 [3]
Delta 2015 48.3 33.9-43.1  
San Joaquin V. 2015 45.4 39.7-52.7  
Sacramento V. 2014 40.2 32.1-49.3  
Delta 2014 41.4 39.5-43.3  
San Joaquin V. 2014 40.7 33-45.9  
Sacramento V. 2013 42.8 38.7-48.6  
Delta 2013 42.9 41-44.8  
San Joaquin V. 2013 43.0 36.3-52.4  
Weighted Average   43.0 32.1-52.7  

Durum wheat

Location Years Removal (lbs N/ton at 12% moisture) Source
    Mean Range  
Sacramento Valley 2015 46.7 44.4-48.5 [3]
San Joaquin V. 2015 43.6 36.3-54  
Sacramento V. 2014 40.1 35.3-45.4  
San Joaquin V. 2014 39.5 33.7-44.1  
Sacramento V. 2013 35.9 33.9-37.7  
San Joaquin V. 2013 42.8 35.8-50.1  
Weighted Average   42.1 33.7-54  



  1. Geisseler, D., 2016. Nitrogen concentrations in harvested plant parts -A literature overview. Report to the Kings River Watershed Coalition.
  2. Linquist, B.A., Cassman, K.G., Fulton, A.E., Jackson, L.F., 1992. Late-season nitrogen may be efficient way to increase winter wheat protein. California Agriculture 46 (2), 13-16.
  3. Mayo P., Prato D., Fraser J., Jackson, L., Gallagher, L.W., Chicaiza, O., del Blanco, A., Maciel, F.T., Culp, D., Banuelos, G., Kirby, D., Wilson, R., Marcum, D., Marsh, B., Orloff, S., Lundy, M., Munier, D., Wright, S., Dubcovsky, J. Regional barley, common wheat and triticale, and durum wheat performance tests in California.
  4. McGuire, A.M., Bryant, D.C., Denison, R.F. 1998. Wheat yields, nitrogen uptake, and soil moisture following winter legume cover crop vs. fallow. Agronomy Journal 90, 404-410.
  5. Undersander, D., Mertens, D.R., Thiex, N., 1993. Forage analyses procedures. National Forage Testing Association, Ohama, NE.