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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Harvest Index of Soybeans as Affected by Planting Date and Maturity Rating1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 71 No. 4, p. 538-541
    Received: June 20, 1978

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  1. D. R. Johnson and
  2. D. J. Major2



Selection for high harvest index has been used by plant breeders to improve the seed yield of several crop plants, but in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] errors in the estimate of harvest index may occur because of interactions with maturity or seeding date and because harvest index measured at maturity does not include leaf and petiole dry weights. The objective of this study was to examine harvest indices of 10 soybean genotypes representing a wide range of maturity and seeded on several dates and to compare estimates of harvest index calculated from biological yield measurements with and without leaf and petiole dry weights.

Vegetative yield at the time of leaf senescence and seed yield at maturity were measured in 10 cultivars of soybean (two from each of maturity groups I–V) planted in a silt loam soil (fine, montmorillonitic, mesic Udollic Ochraqualfs) at five dates from late April through early July. Biological yield was defined as total above ground plant yield and harvest index was calculated as the ratio of seed yield to biological yield. A positive relationship was detected between biological and seed yield, presumably because of a strong photoperiod response. As biological yield increased, seed yield increased proportionally and harvest index stayed the same. Premature killing by frost decreased the harvest index. Variability for harvest index among cultivars within the same maturity group was indicated, but this was influenced by planting date and maturity group. It was concluded that selection for increased harvest index in soybean would have to be done within cultivars representing a narrow range of maturity and planted at the same time.

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