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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Salinity Effects on Rye Grain Yield, Quality, Vegetative Growth, and Emergence


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 81 No. 5, p. 707-712
    Received: Sept 19, 1988

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. L. E. Francois ,
  2. T. J. Donovan,
  3. K. Lorenz and
  4. E. V. Maas
  1. D ep. of Food Sci. and Human Nutrition Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523
    U SDA-ARS, U.S. Salinity Lab., 4500 Glenwood Dr., Riverside, CA 92501



Although current rye (Secale cereale L.) grain production is concentrated mainly in the northern half of the USA and Canada, some rye grain is grown in the arid southwest. Soils in this area are, or have the potential to become, highly saline from the application of saline irrigation water. Since there is nearly a complete lack of information about the response of rye grown under saline conditions, a 2-yr field plot study was conducted. Six salinity treatments were imposed on a Holtville silty clay (clayey over loamy, montmorillonitic [calcareous], hyperthermic Typic Torrifluvent) by irrigating with Colorado River water artificially salinized with NaCl and CaCl2 (1:l by weight). Electrical conductivities of the irrigation waters were 1.1, 4.0, 8.0, 12.1, 16.0, and 20.1 dS m−1 the first year, and 1.1, 3.9, 7.5, 11.6, 15.6, and 19.8 dS m−1 the second year. Grain yield and vegetative growth were measured. Relative grain yield of two cultivars, Maton and Bonel, was unaffected up to a soil salinity of 11.4 dS m−1 (electrical conductivity of the saturation extractΚe). Each unit increase in salinity above 11.4 dS m−1 reduced yield by 10.8%. These results place rye in the salt-tolerant category. Yield reduction was attributed primarily to reduced spike weight and individual seed weight rather than spike number. Bread quality decreased slightly with increasing levels of salinity. Straw yield was more sensitive to salinity than was grain yield. Plant emergence was determined in greenhouse sand cultures. Both cultivars were slightly less salt tolerant during plant emergence than during subsequent stages of growth.

Contribution from the U.S. Salinity Lab., PWA, USDA-ARS, Riverside, CA in cooperation with the Dep. of Food Sci. and Human Nutrition, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO.

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