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Effect of sowing date on wheat in a Mediterranean climate: II. Yield and yield components



Effect of sowing date on wheat in a Mediterranean climate: II. Yield and yield components



South African Journal of Plant & Soil 13(3): 94-102



Differences in grain yield and protein content of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) will be better understood if more knowledge of the effect of the time of sowing is available. Four spring wheat cultivars were sown at four different sowing dates. The trials were sown from early May to early July 1991 at three locations with a typical Mediterranean climate, at intervals of two to three weeks. The establishment of the wheat plants was influenced by climatic and soil conditions immediately before and after sowing. The average dry mass production and grain yield were decreased by 45.6% and 61.2% respectively when sowing was delayed from early May to early July. A linear reduction of 1% was observed in grain yield for each day's delay in the sowing date after 18 May. In this respect the response of the four cultivars did not differ from each other. Grain yield declined as a result of an average decrease of 44.1% in number of kernels m-2, but there was also a decrease in weight kernel-1. A close relationship (r = 0.87 - 0.94) was obtained between total above-ground dry matter yield at harvest and number of kernels produced m-2. The cultivar Adam Tas produced 11.9 and Palmiet 9.9 kernels g-1 dry matter yield. Protein content of the seed initially decreased with a delay in sowing, but started to increase again with very late sowings. Late sowing also decreased the harvest index.

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