Yield, Growth, and Water Use of Conventional and Semileafless Peas in Semiarid Environments
- I. Martín,
- J. L. Tenorio and
- L. Ayerbe
Terminal water stress is a major factor that reduces field pea (Pisum sativum L.) yield in temperate dry areas. Agronomic practices and plant material should be adapted to these environments to optimize soil water use. In this work, field trials with peas were conducted to study the effect of plant population density and leaf type (conventional or semileafless) upon growth and yield in drought conditions. Experimental plots were grown during the spring of 1990 and 1991. The cultivar Desso (conventional) and a semileafless related breeding line (V-12) were grown at plant densities ranging from 25 to 200 plants m−2. In both years, yield, yield components, and harvest index were determined. Biomass growth, light interception, and soil water content were also determined for two plant densities during the second year. Seed yield ranged from 1200 to 1700 kg ha−1 in 1990 and from 800 to 1100 kg ha−1 in 1991. Higher plant densities increased straw yield, but plant populations had only a slight effect on seed yield. More populated treatments had a lower harvest index. Vegetative growth before flowering was greater in treatments with higher plant density and, as a consequence, soil water depletion occurred earlier than in the less populated plots. Until flowering, a common linear correlation between aerial dry matter and intercepted photosynthetically active radiation was found for both genotypes, with a slope of 1.43 g MJ−1. At the end of the growth cycle, water deficit progressively decreased radiation use efficiency. Both conventional and semileafless genotypes showed a similar response to variations in plant density and performance under drought conditions.
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