Oilseed rape has a high requirement for nitrogen (N) fertiliser relative to its seed yield. This paper uses published and unpublished work to explore the extent to which the N use efficiency (seed yield ÷ N supply) of oilseed rape could be improved without reducing seed yield. It was estimated that if the concentration of N in the stem and pod wall at crop maturity could be reduced from 1.0 to 0.6%, the root length density increased to 1 cm/cm3 to 100 cm soil depth and the post flowering N uptake increased by 20 kg N/ha then the fertiliser requirement could be reduced from 191 to 142 kg N/ha and the N use efficiency could be increased from 15.2 to 22.4 kg of seed dry matter per kg N. Genetic variation was found for all of the traits that were estimated to be important for N use efficiency. This indicates that there is significant scope for plant breeders to reduce N use efficiency in oilseed rape
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