Competitiveness of early vigour wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) genotypes is established at early growth stages

Pieter-Willem Hendriks, Saliya Gurusinghe, Peter R Ryan, Greg J. Rebetzke, Leslie Ann Weston

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Abstract

Weed competitiveness in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) has previously been shown to be positively associated with shoot biomass. This study evaluated the impact of increased early shoot vigour on the weed competitiveness of Australian wheats. Breeding lines generated for early shoot vigour were top-crossed with two commercial wheat cultivars (Yitpi and Wyalkatchem) and the resulting high vigour lines (HV lines) were assessed for early growth and weed pressure in the field. These lines were directly compared with their parental lines, other commercial cultivars, and the tall heritage cultivar, Federation. Moreover, rye (Secale cereale L.) or triticale (× Triticosecale) was included in each trial as a positive control for vigour. The association between shoot growth and vigour and weed suppression was evaluated over 3 years in the cereal belt of south-eastern Australia during contrasting seasons. The HV lines consistently displayed greater leaf area, ground cover, and canopy light interception in both dry and wet seasons and suppressed weed growth significantly in contrast to commercial cultivars. Light interception at the first tiller stage, and ground cover at the end of tillering were identified as the most important variables for predicting weed suppression. This study demonstrated the enhancement of competitiveness in commercial wheat through the selection for early vigour, and identified traits that best predicted weed suppression.
Original languageEnglish
Article number377
Number of pages17
JournalAgronomy
Volume12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

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