Does Maintaining Green Leaf Area in Sorghum Improve Yield under Drought? II. Dry Matter Production and Yield
- Andrew K. Borrell *a,
- Graeme L. Hammerb and
- Robert G. Henzella
Retention of green leaf area at maturity (GLAM), known as stay-green, is used as an indicator of postanthesis drought resistance in sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] breeding programs in the USA and Australia. The critical issue is whether maintaining green leaves under postanthesis drought increases grain yield in stay-green compared with senescent hybrids. Field studies were undertaken in northeastern Australia on a cracking and self-mulching gray clay. Nine closely related hybrids varying in rate of leaf senescence were grown under two water-limiting regimes, post-flowering water deficit and terminal (pre- and postflowering) water deficit, and a fully irrigated control. Under terminal water deficit, grain yield was correlated positively with and negatively with rate of leaf senescence Grain yield also increased by ≈0.35 Mg ha−1 for every day that onset of leaf senescence was delayed beyond 76 DAE in the water-limited treatments. Stay-green hybrids produced 47% more postanthesis biomass than their senescent counterparts (920 vs. 624 g m−2) under the terminal water deficit regime. No differences in grain yield were found among eight of the nine hybrids under fully irrigated conditions, suggesting that the stay-green trait did not constrain yield in the well-watered control. The results indicate that sorghum hybrids possessing the stay-green trait have a significant yield advantage under postanthesis drought compared with hybrids not possessing this trait.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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