Condon, Anthony G. and Giunta, Francesco (2003) Yield response of restricted-tillering wheat to transient waterlogging on duplex soils. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol. 54 (10), p. 957-967. ISSN 0004-9409. Article.
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Transient waterlogging during winter and spring reduces wheat yield in many parts of southern Australia. Yield reductions from waterlogging are associated with reduced production and survival of tillers, fewer and smaller fertile tillers, and smaller grain size. Under favourable conditions, wheats that have the tiller-inhibition ('tin') gene produce a lower total number of tillers but a higher proportion of large, productive tillers and larger grains than wheats without this gene. These characteristics of restricted-tillering wheat may contribute to improved yield under transient waterlogging. We compared the growth and yield of the commercial variety Bodallin and 2 Bodallin backcross derivatives containing the 'tin' gene in 8 field trials grown on shallow, duplex soils in 1995 and 1996 at 3 locations in the south-west of Western Australia. Trials were sown at standard (1995) and standard and high (1996) seeding rates. Trial-mean yield ranged from 0.5 to 4.7 t/ha, depending on the occurrence and severity of waterlogging before anthesis and of soil water deficit before and after anthesis. Grain yield of the restricted-tillering (RT) lines averaged only c. 80% of Bodallin. At all sites and seeding rates the RT lines had fewer spikes per m2 (45% fewer, on average) but averaged 44% more grains per spike. In 1996 only, grain weight of the RT lines was 6% greater than of Bodallin. There was no evidence that the relative yield of the RT lines was greater at waterlogged sites than at other sites. Waterlogging reduced the number of fertile spikes of RT lines and of Bodallin to the same relative extent and differences in grains per spike and grain size had little effect on relative yields. Even though harvest index of the RT lines was slightly elevated in some environments, biomass production of the RT lines was low in all environments. We conclude that wheats with the 'tin' gene are unlikely to have a yield advantage under transient waterlogging unless their biomass production can match that of more freely tillering wheats.
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