Increased rate of nitrogen (N) application, high seed rate (SR) and narrow row spacing (RS) increased water use (VU) over the course of the growing season. Most of the increase in VU occurred during the pre-anthesis growth period. High SR exhibited higher VU in the pre-anthesis growth period, but higher VU in the post-anthesis growth period was associated with low SR. Highest grain yield and water use efficiency (VUE) were associated with the combination of high SR and narrow RS. Increased N rate, and high SR also promoted higher levels of grain protein (GP). Differences in yield components and GP were related to the pattern of VU.