Agronomic studies on soybean glycine max l. merrill in the dry season of the tropics iii. effect of artificial photoperiod extension on phenology growth and seed yield
Mayers, J.D.; Lawn, R.J.; Byth, D.E.
Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 42(7): 1109-1122
Soybean cultivars developed for the tropical wet season performed poorly when grown in the dry season in north-west Australia. The proposition that breeding for later flowering time might enhance yields was tested by using artificial photoperiod extension (14 h day-1 for 28 days post-emergence) to delay flowering of field plots of agronomically improved genotypes. Canopy development and interception of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), dry matter (DM) accumulation, seed yield and seed composition were examined, and compared with that from plants grown under natural photoperiods. Photoperiod extension delayed flowering an average 24 days, and maturity by an average 14.5 days, the effect being greater in the earlier-flowering genotypes. Differences among genotypes and photoperiod treatment in above-ground DM at the beginning and end of flowering were almost entirely due to the consequences of differences in phenology for cumulative PAR interception. DM at maturity was a simple linear function of crop duration (r2 = 0.95**), while seed yield exhibited an optimum-type response with DM (R2 = 0.79**). The net consequence was that photoperiod extension increased DM production by an average 2.23 t ha-1 and seed yield by an average 0.65 t ha-1. The analyses suggested that a crop duration of c. 143-146 days would be needed to maximize seed yield under the agronomic conditions of the study, whereas the longest duration among the agronomically improved genotypes under natural photoperiod conditions was 136 days. It was concluded that breeding to constrain precocious flowering under short day conditions would be a viable strategy to improve the yield potential of soybean in the dry season.