Weather indices during reproductive phase explain wheat yield variability

Ketema Tilahun Zeleke, Muhuddin Anwar, Livinus Emebiri, David Luckett

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When water and nutrients are not limiting, and pests and disease are effectively controlled, crop growth and yield is determined by weather conditions such as temperature and solar radiation. To determine the relationship between weather indices and crop yield, multiple wheat varieties were sown at two sowing times, for five sowing seasons and at two locations. The following weather indices around the 50% anthesis stage were recorded and analysed: mean temperature (Tmean), maximum temperature (Tmax), number of days with temperature >30°C (T30), vapour pressure deficit (VPD), photosynthetically active radiation, photothermal quotient (PQ) and photothermal quotient corrected for vapour pressure deficit (PQvpd). Overall, for every 1°C rise in temperature, crop yield decreased by 370 kg/ha. For every 1°C rise in temperature, normal sowing window yield decreased by 360 kg/ha while late-sown wheat yield decreased by 640 kg/ha. Correlation analysis was conducted between the weather indices and grain number, grain yield and grain protein. There was a significant positive correlation between PQ and PQvpd and grain number and grain yield. There was a significant negative correlation between Tmean, Tmax, T30 and VPD and grain number and grain yield. Grain protein content showed a positive correlation with maximum air temperature and a negative correlation with the weather indices PQ and PQvpd. PQ and PQvpd can be used to predict grain number and grain yield potential. This study showed that grain number and grain yield predicted using PQ and PQvpd are more reliable than using temperature and radiation individually.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-632
Number of pages16
JournalThe Journal of Agricultural Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2023


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