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Natural post-flowering photoperiod and photoperiod sensitivity: Roles in yield-determining processes in soybean

Nico, Magalí, Miralles, Daniel Julio, Kantolic, Adriana Graciela
Field crops research 2019 v.231 pp. 141-152
Glycine max, alleles, crop production, cropping systems, field experimentation, genotype, growing season, isogenic lines, photoperiod, pods, production technology, racemes, soybeans
Promising yield-determining responses to artificial photoperiod manipulation during post-flowering phases have been identified in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill]. These responses enhance resource capture as a result of changes in phase duration, and resource use efficiency as a result of changes in node production and pod development, alleviating intra-node pod interference. This work aims to evaluate the relevance of these responses under natural conditions and discriminate direct from indirect photoperiodic effects, that is, effects caused by changes in the capture of resources. Two field experiments were conducted with a combination of sowing dates, with similar pre- and different post-flowering photoperiod, indeterminate genotypes including near isogenic lines and commercial varieties with different photoperiod sensitivity, and shadings with different incident radiation during post-flowering. Longer post-flowering photoperiod and higher plant photoperiod sensitivity delayed crop development, particularly in lines with alleles E2, E3 or Clark background. This delay resulted in extra radiation capture and node production, which were positively related to yield. Direct photoperiodic effects on nodes per m2 were evidenced in response to changes in post-flowering photoperiod and plant photoperiod sensitivity. The distribution of available resources such as radiation in more nodes per m2 increased use efficiency. Longer post-flowering photoperiod and higher plant photoperiod sensitivity enhanced pod establishment on usually dominated positions such as lateral racemes, affecting pods per m2. Finding these relevant yield-determining effects under natural conditions suggests that processes related to post-flowering photoperiodic responses are a plausible way to enhance resource capture and use efficiency and yield in soybean production systems. In cropping systems in which the whole growing season is used to maximize yield, these post-flowering photoperiodic responses could be adopted at the expense of the pre-flowering phase duration.