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Variation between and within species of rapeseed brassica campestris and brassica napus in response to drought stress part 2 growth and development under natural drought stresses



Variation between and within species of rapeseed brassica campestris and brassica napus in response to drought stress part 2 growth and development under natural drought stresses



Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 29(3): 479-490



Two rapeseed species and cultivars within each of these species differed significantly with respect to the influence of variation in sowing date on growth, development and yield on 2 different soil types. Soil moisture stress, particularly after anthesis, was the major environmental factor affecting these processes. Grain yield declined markedly with later sowings in both species, and B. napus, despite its later maturity, was more tolerant of severe soil moisture deficits since its grain yield was consistently higher than B. campestris in the more stressed environments. The major distinguishing feature between species contributing most to this difference in yield was the pattern of dry matter accumulation. In B. campestris most of the dry weight of the plant was accumulated after anthesis when drought was most severe; in B. napus dry weight accumulation occurred before anthesis. This resulted in a greater contribution of reserves accumulated by anthesis to grain-filling in B. napus. Most of the variation in seed yield resulted from differences in sowing dates and soil types. When these environmental effects were excluded, the main determinants of genotypic variation in yield were the numbers of pods and branches and harvest index in both species, growth rate in the post-anthesis phase in B. campestris and plant weight and root/shoot ratio at anthesis in B. napus. Selection strategies for yield improvement in rapeseed growing in drought-stressed environments are discussed.

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