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

Water use efficiency of wheat in a Mediterranean-type environment. I. The relation between yield, water use and climate

RJ French and JE Schultz

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 35(6) 743 - 764
Published: 1984


The relations between wheat yield and water use were determined from field measurements in South Australia. Highest production of dry matter was 37 kg ha-1 per mm of water use and of grain was 12.7 kg ha-1 per mm. More than 70% of the total water use occurred by anthesis. Time of sowing and soil water content at sowing had a big influence on yield. The loss of water by direct evaporation was estimated to be 110 mm, equal to about one-third of the water use. The maximum efficiency of water transpired was 55 kg ha-1 mm-1 for dry matter and 20 kg ha-1 mm-1 for grain. The efficiencies of most of the crops were below this level. Yield (Y), water use (W) and evaporation (Ep) could be fitted to the de Wit formula Y = m W/Ep, but the m factor varied with the proportion of water use that was lost by direct evaporation.

© CSIRO 1984

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