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Above- and belowground dry matter partitioning of four warm-season annual crops sown on different dates in a semiarid region

Zhang, Zhixin, Yu, Kailiang, Jin, Xiuliang, Nan, Zhibiao, Wang, Jianfeng, Niu, Xueli, Whish, Jeremy P.M., Bell, Lindsay W., Siddique, Kadambot H.M.
European journal of agronomy 2019 v.109 pp. 125918
aboveground biomass, allometry, annuals, belowground biomass, biomass production, breeding, climatic factors, crop management, dry matter partitioning, farming systems, field experimentation, flowering, forage, forage crops, forage production, leaves, rain, semiarid zones, solar radiation, sowing date, temperature, warm season, China
Biomass production and partitioning are important for crop production and is influenced by environmental conditions. Sowing date can profoundly influence biomass production and portioning in crop plants depending upon the local climatic conditions. However, the accumulation of biomass in different plant components in annual forages in response to changes in sowing date has not been quantified, especially for semiarid farming systems. A field experiment was conducted during 2011–2013 to investigate how sowing date (early, mid, late) influences biomass partitioning and the interrelationships with environments in four warm-season annual crops in the Loess Plateau of China. The aboveground biomass of all four crops was more reliant on rainfall and solar radiation at flowering and temperature and rainfall at maturity. Solar radiation, rainfall, and temperature had a combined effect on belowground biomass (0–0.3 m), depending on the forage crop. Reductions in biomass in the late-sown treatment were mostly attributed to plant size; the ‘allometry’ among plant components did not change. The changes of shoot: root and leaf: stem ratios were related to the relationship between biomass accumulation and rainfall, temperature and intercepted radiation. It is evident that dry matter allocation patterns in crops must be analyzed using a dynamic approach (allometry) and relate with environmental conditions, rather than a static approach using ratios. The results from this study provide references for crop management in forage production and breeding in semiarid areas.