Do barley and wheat (bread and durum) differ in grain weight stability through seasons and water–nitrogen treatments in a Mediterranean location?
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Under Mediterranean environments, farmers usually prefer to sow barley rather than wheat as it is generally believed that barley yields more under stressful conditions. As terminal stresses such as high temperature and water are common constraints in Mediterranean regions, higher grain weight stability
may confer a clear advantage in order to maintain higher yields. The objective of the present study was to compare the stability in terms of grain weight and its components for barley, bread wheat, and durum wheat, exploring a wide range of nitrogen and water availabilities in experiments conducted in a Mediterranean region. Grain weight ranged from 23.8 to 47.7 mg grain−1, being higher for durum wheat than barley and bread wheat. Durum wheat presented higher variability both in maximum grain filling rate and duration of grain filling period than bread wheat or barley. The three species responded similarly in terms of grain nitrogen content to changes in the environmental conditions explored. It is concluded that in terms of grain weight barley is as stable as bread wheat. However, durum wheat presented a lower stability than barley and bread wheat.