Main content area

Agronomic performance of winter wheat grown under highly divergent soil moisture conditions in rainfed and water‐managed environments

Schittenhelm, Siegfried, Kottmann, Lorenz, Kraft, Martin, Matschiner, Katja, Langkamp‐Wedde, Tina
Journal of agronomy and crop science 2019 v.205 no.3 pp. 283-294
Triticum aestivum, agronomic traits, air temperature, breeding lines, cultivars, drought, farmers, genotype, grain yield, growing season, hybrids, irrigation, phenology, regression analysis, soil water, soil water regimes, temperate zones, water shortages, water stress, winter wheat, Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine
Even in the temperate climates of Europe, increasing early season drought and rising air temperature are presenting new challenges to farmers and wheat breeders. Sixteen winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) genotypes consisting of three hybrids, six line cultivars and two breeding lines from Germany as well as five line cultivars from France, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and the Ukraine (referred to as “exotic” lines) have been included in this study. The genetic materials were evaluated over three growing seasons under a range of soil moisture regimes at the three North German sites Braunschweig (irrigated and drought‐stressed), Warmse (rainfed) and Söllingen (rainfed). The average grain yields in the twelve growth environments (water regime × season combinations) ranged from 6.1 to 13.5 t ha⁻¹. The exotic lines showed little evidence of specific phenological adaptation to drought although they are frequently faced with water scarcity in their countries of origin. The hybrids and German lines exhibited higher regression coefficients (bᵢ) to environmental means than the exotic lines, indicating particular adaptation to favourable growing conditions. The phenotypical correlations of grain yield between the various environments were high, ranging for instance from 0.6 to 0.8 for the irrigated and drought‐stressed environments at Braunschweig. It is thus expected that in the foreseeable future continued selection aiming at high yield potential will suffice as a means to counter the expected increase in droughts.