Gibberellin-responsive and -insensitive dwarfing alleles on wheat performance in contrasting tillage systems
To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2012.11.001
Near-isogenic lines (NILs) of winter wheat varying for alleles for reduced height (Rht), gibberellin (GA) response and photoperiod insensitivity (Ppd-D1a) in cv. Mercia background (rht (tall), Rht-B1b, Rht-D1b, Rht-B1c, Rht8c+Ppd-D1a, Rht-D1c, Rht12) and cv. Maris Widgeon (rht (tall), Rht-D1b, Rht-B1c) backgrounds were compared to investigate main effects and interactions with tillage (plough-based, minimum-, and zero-tillage) over two years. Both minimum- and zero- tillage were associated with reduced grain yields allied to reduced harvest index, biomass accumulation, interception of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and plant populations. Grain yields were optimized at mature crop heights of around 740mm because this provided the best compromise between harvest index which declined with height, and above ground biomass which increased with height. Improving biomass with height was due to improvements in both PAR interception and radiation-use efficiency. Optimum height for grain yield was unaffected by tillage system or GA-sensitivity. After accounting for effects of height, GA insensitivity was associated with increased grain yields due to increased grains per spike, which was more than enough to compensate for poorer plant establishment and lower mean grain weights compared to the GA-sensitive lines. Although better establishment was possible with GA-sensitive lines, there was no evidence that this effect interacted with tillage method. We find, therefore, little evidence to question the current adoption of wheats with reduced sensitivity to GA in the UK, even as tillage intensity lessens.