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Adaptability of Wheat Cultivars to a Late-Planted No-Till Fallow Production System

Author(s): Ryan W. Higginbotham | Stephen S. Jones | Arron H. Carter

Journal: Sustainability
ISSN 2071-1050

Volume: 3;
Issue: 8;
Start page: 1224;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Triticum aestivum L. | late-planted no-till fallow | tilled fallow | soil erosion | wheat breeding

In Washington, over fifty percent of the wheat produced under rainfed conditions receives less than 300 mm of annual precipitation. Hence, a winter wheat-summer fallow cropping system has been adopted to obtain adequate moisture for winter wheat production. Current tilled fallow systems are exposed to significant soil degradation from wind and water erosion. As a result, late-planted no-till fallow systems are being evaluated to mitigate erosion concerns. The objective of this study was to evaluate current cultivars under late-planted no-till fallow systems to identify whether current breeding schemes in tilled fallow systems could select productive cultivars in late-planted no-till fallow systems. Thirty cultivars were planted in a split-plot design with fallow type as the main plot and genotype as the sub-plot. Fallow types evaluated were a tilled fallow system and a late planted no-till fallow system. Data were collected on heading date, plant height, grain volume weight, grain yield, and grain protein content. Analysis of variance was conducted on data across locations. Results were significant for all traits except for grain protein content. The late-planted no-till fallow system headed 16 days later was 5 cm shorter, yielded 36% less, and had a grain volume weight 3% less than the tilled fallow system. The lower yield and grain volume weight potential is hypothesized to be due to the 16 day delay in heading date leading to warmer temperatures during grain fill and a shorter duration. In order to breed wheat to be highly productive under a late-planted no-till fallow system, directly selecting in this system for early spring growth and earlier heading dates will be essential.
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