Effects of water stress and salinity on contrasting wheat genotypes
A series of experiments was carried out in the Department of Agriculture, University College of North Wales, Bangor, during October 1987 to September 1989. The purpose of these was to study the effects of water stress and salinity stress at different stages on long (Norman), medium (Fenman) and short duration (Wembley) wheat varieties in different environments. Effects of water stress were tested in large pots in different types of soil. Effects of salinity were tested by growing plants in solution culture. In both experiments water stress and salinity stress were imposed at three major stages, tillering to stem extension (TL-SE), stem extension to booting (SE-BG) and booting to maturity (BG-MT). These were tested in each variety in comparison with a control of each variety. Growth measurements, leaf number and area, stem area, shoot number, plant height, nitrogen %, nitrogen uptake, dry weight per plant were determined at the end of each stage. Soluble carbohydrates were determined at anthesis. This was done to find out how much these growth measurements were decreased during each stress period. Yield and yield components were determined at harvest. In these experiments the long duration variety took a long time in growth during TL-SE, in comparison to mid winter and spring wheat varieties. The long duration variety gave a higher plant, more straw dry weight production and more leaf number than the short duration variety. The long duration variety also gave a higher yield than the medium and short duration varieties, due to larger ears, more spikelets vi per ear, more grain number per ear and more grain number per spikelet. All varieties experienced higher temperatures and longer days during SE-BG and BG-MT in both experiments. The lengths of these stages therefore showed smaller variation between varieties. In water stress experiments the mixed peat-soil used in Experiment 2 dried out quicker than the normal field soil used in Experiment 1. The upper portion of the soil was dried before the lower portion of the soil during the stress period. With water stress at SE-BG and BG-MT the soil dried out quicker in both years. Gypsum blocks were used to give readings of water stress. with water stress at BG-MT the soil was completely dried out after the third week, in all varieties, due to higher plant height, higher temperature and more evaporation. Because of this water stress at BG-MT resulted in a short duration for ripening. In both water stress Experiments 1 and 2, in all varieties all water stress treatments decreased the growth measurements, decreased yield and yield components. In Norman water stress at TL-SE had a long stress period due to slow growth processes during cold winter. However, this stage had a similar effect on yield in Norman, Fenman and Wembley. In both water stress experiments in all varieties, water stress at SE-BG caused the largest reductions in growth measurements, because at this stage the plant had the greatest leaf area and temperature was higher, although the period of stress was only a few weeks. However, water stress at BG-MT caused the greatest decreases in yield. This stage showed the greatest vii decreases in yield and yield components, due to small grain size, fewer fertile spikelets, small size of ear, earlier leaf senescence, short duration for ripening, higher temperature, lack of soluble carbohydrate for grain f~lling from stem and pollination problems at anthesis time. In both salinity Experiments 1 and 2, all varieties had a larger green leaf area, more tillers and all varieties were much stronger after stem extension than in the water stress experiments due to the solution culture teChnique. Norman was more strong than the other varieties because of its long period grown in solution culture. Salinity at TL-SE was more damaging than other stages in all varieties. Salinity at TL-SE decreased the growth measurements, such as leaf area, stem area, plant height, dry weight per plant. Because of the growth measurement reduction, grain weight per plant, grain number per plant, grain number per ear, grain number per fertile spikelet and fertile spikelet per ear were decreased by salinity at this stage. Salinity at SE-BG and BG-MT also decreased growth measurements, decreased grain yield and yield components. Salinity at BG-MT decreased grain yield and yield components more than salinity at SE-BG. In Experiment 2 in all varieties with salinity at BG-MT plants were harvested a few days before other stages and the control. Norman was more sensitive with salinity at TL-SE than the other varieties because of its long period grown under salt stress. Norman was much stronger with salinity at SE-BG. Norman gave lower yield, yield components at BG-MT than other varieties at this stage.