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Effects of Zinc Deficiency and Drought on Grain Yield of Field-grown Wheat Cultivars in Central Anatolia

Bagci, S.A., Ekiz, H., Yilmaz, A., Cakmak, I.
Journal of agronomy and crop science 2007 v.193 no.3 pp. 198-206
cultivars, plant stress, plant nutrition, zinc, nutrient deficiencies, drought tolerance, durum wheat, drought, water stress, irrigated farming, dryland farming, Triticum aestivum, grain yield, Triticum turgidum subsp. durum, genetic variation, Turkey (country)
Drought stress and zinc (Zn) deficiency are serious abiotic stress factors limiting crop production in Turkey, especially in Central Anatolia. In this study, the effects of Zn deficiency and drought stress on grain yield of 20 wheat cultivars (16 bread wheat, Triticum aestivum; four durum wheat, Triticum durum cultivars) were investigated over 2 years under rainfed and irrigated conditions in Central Anatolia where drought and Zn deficiency cause substantial yield reductions. Plants were treated with (+Zn: 23 kg Zn ha⁻¹, as ZnSO₄·7H₂O) and without (-Zn) Zn under rainfed and irrigated conditions. Both Zn deficiency and rainfed treatments resulted in substantial decreases in grain yield. Significant differences were determined between both bread wheat and durum wheat cultivars in terms of drought stress tolerance. Considering drought sensitivity indices over 2 years, the bread wheat cultivars Yayla-305, Gerek-79, Dagdas-94 and Bolal-2973 were found to be more drought-tolerant than the other cultivars under both -Zn and +Zn treatments. Especially the durum wheat cultivars Cakmak 79 and Selcuklu 97 showed much greater drought susceptibility under Zn deficiency, and irrigation alone was not sufficient to obtain satisfying grain yield without Zn application. The results indicate that sensitivity to Zn deficiency stress became more pronounced when plants were drought-stressed. The effect of irrigation on grain yield was maximized when Zn was adequately supplied, leading to the suggestion that efficient water use in Central Anatolia seems to be highly dependent on the Zn nutritional status of plants.