Physiological basis of genotypic response to management in dryland wheat
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A great majority of dryland wheat producers are reluctant to intensify management due to the assumption that lack of water availability is the most critical factor limiting yield and thus, the response to management intensification would be limited. We conducted on-farm field experiments across three locations and two growing seasons in Kansas using 21 modern winter wheat genotypes grown under either standard (SM) or intensified management (IM) systems. The goals of this study were to (i) determine whether the SM adopted is adequate to reach achievable yields by farmers in the region and (ii) identify differences in responsiveness to IM among a range of modern genotypes. Across all sites-years and genotypes, the IM increased yield by 0.9 Mg ha-1, outyielding the SM system even in the lowest yielding conditions. As expected, the yield response to IM increased with the achievable yield of the environment and genotype. Across all sources of variation, the yield responsiveness to IM was related to increased biomass rather than harvest index, strongly driven by improvements in grain number (and independent of changes in grain weight), and by improvements in N uptake which resulted from greater biomass and shoot N concentration. The IM system generally also increased grain N concentration and decreased the grain N dilution effect from increased yield. Genotypes varied in their response to IM, with major response patterns resulting from the combination of response magnitude (large vs. small) and consistency (variable vs. consistent). Genotypes with high mean response and high variability in the response to IM across years could offer greater opportunities for producers to maximize yield as those genotypes showed greater yield gain from IM when conditions favored their response. For the background conditions evaluated, intensifying management could improve wheat yield in between c. 0.2 and 1.5 Mg ha-1 depending on genotype.
Is part ofFrontiers In Plant Science, 2019, vol. 10, article number 1644
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