Water Use, Grain Yield, and Osmoregulation in Wheat
JM Morgan and AG Condon
Australian Journal of Plant Physiology
13(4) 523 - 532
Genotypic differences in turgor maintenance in wheat were shown to be associated with differences in grain yield in the field at both high and Low water deficits. High water deficits were produced by growing plants in field plots using water stored in the soil at sowing, and excluding rain with a rain cover. At low water deficits plants received rainfall, and irrigation was supplied before and immediately after sowing, at tillering, at jointing, at ear emergence, and during grain filling. Yield differences were analysed in terms of harvest index, water use, and water use efficiency. Water use was calculated from changes in soil water contents. At high water deficits all three factors were associated with differences in turgor maintenance. However, only the variations in water use and harvest index could be logically associated with differences in turgor maintenance. Analysis of the soil water extraction data showed that the differences in water use efficiency were due solely to differences in water use at depth while surface water losses were the same, i.e. the ratio of transpiration to soil evaporation would have been higher in low-osmoregulating genotypes. At low water deficits, no differences were observed in harvest index, though there were non-significant correlations between turgor maintenance and total water use efficiency or total water use. A similar result was obtained when the water use and yield data were related to osmoregulation measurements made in the glasshouse. It is therefore concluded that effects of turgor maintenance or osmoregulation on grain yield were primarily associated with differences in water use which were, in turn, due to differences in water extraction at soil depths between 25 and 150 cm.
Full text doi:10.1071/PP9860523
© CSIRO 1986