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

Potential for increasing early vigour and total biomass in spring wheat. II. Characteristics associated with early vigour

KL Regan, KHM Siddique, NC Turner and BR Whan

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 43(3) 541 - 553
Published: 1992


Increased early growth and total dry matter production have been suggested as useful traits to improve yield in Mediterranean-type environments. In Part I, genotypic variation for early growth and total dry matter production was identified among cultivars and some introduced lines. In this part, characteristics associated with early vigour in five of these introduced lines and ten Australian cultivars were examined in a field study at Wongan Hills in Western Australia. Differences in dry matter production were observed at all sampling times during the season, with three of the introduced lines (CEP 8058, Kansu No. 32 and V979-28) having consistently higher dry matter production than the standard cultivars during the early growth period. Those genotypes with a higher dry matter production at 54 days after sowing had higher relative growth rates and green area indices than those with low dry matter production. Both genotypes with large leaves on few tillers and genotypes with small leaves on many tillers had higher green area indices and higher dry matter production. While high dry matter production was associated with a large degree of ground cover and high light interception, it was not associated with the earlier commencement of reproductive development. Incorporation of early vigour and high dry matter production into locally adapted cultivars is required to demonstrate its benefit in these environments.

Keywords: early vigour; green area index; light interception; ground cover; Triticum aestivum; reproductive development

© CSIRO 1992

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