Genotypic and environmental influences on the performance of wheat root systems
Gregory, P. J., Gooding, M. J., Ford, K. E., Hendricks, P. W., Kirkegaard, J. A. and Rebettzke, G. J. (2005) Genotypic and environmental influences on the performance of wheat root systems. Aspects of Applied Biology , 73. pp. 1-10. ISSN 0265-1491
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Genetic and environmental factors interact to determine the growth and activity of crop root systems. This paper examines the effects of agronomic management and genotype on wheat root systems in the UK and Australia, and suggests ways in which root limitations to crop performance might be alleviated. In a field study in the UK which examined late-season growth and activity, fungicide maintained the size of the root system during early grain-filling, and there were significant differences between cultivars in root distribution with depth below 0.3 m. Shamrock had a longer root system below 0.3 m than varieties such as Hereward and Consort. Fungicide significantly increased root growth at 0.1-0.2 m in one season. In Australia, a wheat line selected for high shoot vigour had associated root vigour during early seedling growth but the effect on root growth did not persist. The results provide examples of genotypic differences in wheat root growth under field conditions which interact with agronomic management in ways which can be exploited to benefit growth and yield in diverse environments.