Seed Priming Winter Wheat for Germination, Emergence, and Yield
- Ghana S. Giri and
- William F. Schillinger *
Insufficient stand establishment of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a major problem in the low-precipitation (<300 mm annual) dryland summer fallow region of the inland Pacific Northwest, USA. Low seed zone water potential, deep planting depths with 15 cm or more soil covering the seed, and soil crusting caused by rain before seedling emergence frequently impede winter wheat stands. A 2-yr study involving laboratory, greenhouse, and field components was conducted to determine seed priming effects on winter wheat germination, emergence, and grain yield. Two cultivars were used because of their strong (Edwin) and moderate (Madsen) emergence capabilities. Germination rate was measured in the laboratory by 44 treatment combinations (two cultivars × three priming durations × seven priming media + two checks). Germination rate differed between cultivars as well as by priming duration, priming media, and concentration of priming media. The most promising laboratory treatments were advanced to greenhouse and field experiments where emergence and grain yield (field only) were measured in 10 treatments (two cultivars × four priming media + two checks) from wheat planted deep with 16 cm of soil covering the seed. In the greenhouse, seed primed in potassium chloride (KCl), polyethylene glycol (PEG), and water led to enhanced emergence of Madsen, but not of Edwin, compared with checks. Rate and extent of seedling emergence was greater for Edwin compared with Madsen irrespective of priming media in three of four field plantings at Lind, WA. None of the seed priming media benefited field emergence or subsequent grain yield in either cultivar compared with checks. Overall, results suggest that seed priming has limited practical worth for enhancing emergence and yield of winter wheat planted deep into summer fallow.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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