Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality

The role of seed in the determination of yield of grain crops*

D. B. Egli
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, 427 Plant Science Bldg, 1405 Veterans Drive, Lexington, KY 40546-0312, USA. Email:

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 57(12) 1237-1247
Submitted: 2 May 2006  Accepted: 17 August 2006   Published: 21 November 2006


The seed is the harvested organ in grain crops and, consequently, the accumulation of dry matter by the seed is an important component of the yield production process. The growth of individual seeds, usually characterised by the rate and duration of growth, is, at least partially, controlled by the seed itself. It is this control that gives the seed a significant role in the yield production process. Genetic variation in seed growth rate, which is substantial, is not related to yield, but variation related to environmental conditions during seed filling often is. Genetic and environmental variation in seed-fill duration is usually directly related to yield. Much is now known about the regulation of seed growth and this knowledge, if applied, may help answer some of the important questions still facing crop scientists as they try to increase yields in the future.

Additional keywords: seed growth rate, seed-fill duration, seed per unit area, seed size.


Contribution No. 06-06-063 from the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY USA 40545-0312.


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*This review is one of a series commissioned by the Editorial Advisory Committee of the Journal.

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