Effect of water stress with phasic development of yield of wheat triticum aestivum cultivar lachish grown in a semi arid environment

Hochman, Z.

Field Crops Research 5(1): 55-68


ISSN/ISBN: 0378-4290
Accession: 005282781

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Irrigated wheat crops were subjectedto severe soil moisture deficits at 3 ontogenetic stages in a field experiment in the Negev desert, Israel. Quantitative relationships were obtained for leaf water potential as a function of relative available soil moisture in the zone of root penetration and potential transpiration and for leaf diffusive resistance as a function of leaf water potential. Stress from tillering to anthesis reduced leaf area index and grain number. Grain yield was 28% lower than the unstressed treatment in which grain yield was 779 g m-2. Stress from booting to grain filling resulted in reduced grain number and 1000-grain weight. Grain yield was reduced by 36%. Stress during grain filling reduced the 1000-grain weight and grain yield was 16% below the well watered control. Harvest index was unaffected by any of the stress treatments. Water use efficiency was reduced by stress and was lowest for stress between booting and grain filling. The results of this experiment emphasize the dynamic response of a wheat crop to its water status. Especially significant in a semi-arid environment is the increased sensitivity of leaf water potential to soil moisture deficit during the linear phase of grain filling. This undesirable response may be remedied by selection for varieties which are less sensitive to soil moisture deficit at grain filling.