Effects on dry weight and nitrogen content of grains of semi dwarf and tall varieties of winter wheat triticum aestivum caused by decreasing the number of grains per ear

Thorne, G.N.

Annals of Applied Biology 98(2): 355-364


ISSN/ISBN: 0003-4746
Accession: 005334349

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The mumber of grains in ears of 6 varieties of winter wheat growing in the field was decreased by removing the top half of the ear 6 days after anthesis (halving). In the semi-dwarf varieties Hustler, Sentry and Hobbit, and in the taller varieties Armada and Flanders, the mean dry weight per grain the lower 6 spikelets of halved ears was .apprx. 23% greater than the dry weight of grains in the comparable part of intact ears. In 'Maris Huntsman' the increase in grain size amounted to only 13%. Halving increased the number of grains in the semi-dwarf varieties but not in the others. Consequently, the increases caused by halving in the total weight of grain in the lower 6 spikelets ranged from 41% in 'Hustler' and 'Hobbit' to 7% in 'Maris Huntsman'. Halving increased the amount of N in the grain of the lower half of the ear similarly in all varieties, and relatively more than it increased dry weight. So N percent dry weight of grain was increased, especially in 'Armada', 'Flanders' and 'Maris Huntsman' which responded least in dry weight. The uptake of N into the stem plus ear after anthesis was unaffected by halving. Most of the N that normally moved to the upper grains accumulated in the lower grains of halved ears. More N moved into the grain of intact ears of tall than of semi-dwarf varieties after anthesis, because there was greater uptake of N into the shoot from the roots.