Effect of Drought and Defoliation Stress in the Field on Soybean Seed Germination and Vigor
- R. D. Vieira,
- D. M. TeKrony and
- D. B. Egli
Although drought and defoliation stress have been shown to reduce soybean [Glycine max (L.). Merr.] yield, little information has been published regarding their effects on soybean seed quality. Field experiments were conducted in 1986, 1987, and 1989 to evaluate the effect of drought and defoliation (1989 only) stress during soybean seed development on seed germination and vigor. Essex (MG [maturity group] V) and Union (MG III) were grown in 1986 and 1987, and Harper (MG III) and McCall (MG 00) in 1989. Moisture treatments were either well watered or drought stressed during seed development (R5 to R7). In 1989, a total defoliation treatment was also imposed at R6 as an additional stress factor. There were significant reductions in yield and yield components following drought stress in all 3 yr and following defoliation in 1989. Leaf conductance and transpiration also decreased in the drought stress treatments. There was no effect of drought stress on seed germination or seed vigor as measured by accelerated aging germination and the cold test across the four cultivars (determinate and indeterminate) and 3 yr. In 1989 slight changes in 3-d germination and conductivity occurred for some drought stress treatments. Most of this response, however, was related to increased occurrence of hard seed, which does not represent an indication of a change in vigor. Seed germination and vigor were significantly reduced for small, flat, shriveled, and underdeveloped seeds that only occurred following defoliation. These seeds represented a small portion of the seed lot that would normally be removed during conditioning. The data suggest that drought stress would have no effect on seed germination or vigor, unless the stress was severe enough to produce shriveled, flat, underdeveloped seeds.
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