Anbessa, Y. and Juskiw, P. 2012. Review: Strategies to increase nitrogen use efficiency of spring barley. Can. J. Plant Sci. 92: 617-625. Improvement in nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) is important to reduce input costs and the negative impact of excessive N on the environment. This review found that barley growers in western Canada have over the years adopted a number of improved N management strategies including soil testing and adjusting rate of N fertilization accordingly, switching from fall application to spring application of N fertilizers, and side-dressing placement of N that gives plant roots easier access to N nutrition. However, it is our opinion that use of variable N rates, choice of N fertilizer type that is less susceptible to losses, and improved manure management are some of the areas where further increase in NUE should be sought. As well, barley germplasms show substantial differences in NUE and genetic selection could increase NUE. Genetic improvement of NUE in barley should be possible both by the traditional breeding approach of crossing and pyramiding NUE genes from across different sources as well as through the development of transgenic barley. The integration of improved N management practices and more efficient cultivars may bring about a significant increase in NUE and ultimately grain yield of barley under the target moderate rate of N application.
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Vol. 92 • No. 4