The relationship between the photosynthetically active radiation use efficiency during the pre-anthesis period of ontogenesis and yield of winter wheat were studied in field experiments in years with dry weather conditions (2018 — during period of stem elongation—anthesis, 2019 — during the period of grain filling). The studies were conducted using 6 varieties of bread winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) originated from the Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Variety Smuhlianka is widely used high-yielding variety released in 2004, while the others 5 varieties — Hospodarka, Kyivska 17, Pochaina, Krasnopilka and Poradnytsia are more recently released (2017—2018). It has been established that, starting from the booting stage (GS 45), varieties can be divided into 2 groups differing in leaf area index: varieties Hospodarka, Kyivska 17 and Pochaina were 15—30 % superior than the varieties Krasnopilka, Smuhlianka and Poradnytsia. At the period from anthesis to milky-wax ripeness, the dry biomass growth rate in the first three varieties was also higher than in the last three. The radiation use efficiency (RUE) at the period of spring vegetation (stem elongation—booting) did not differ significantly between the varieties, whereas during the period booting—anthesis and anthesis—late milk ripeness, it was significantly higher in the varieties Hospodarka, Kyivska 17 and Pochaina than in other varieties. The first three varieties have also higher grain yield in both years: 8.60—8.72 in 2018 and 9.15—9.78 t/ha in 2019, while in the varieties Krasnopilka, Smuhlianka and Poradnytsia yield varied in the range of 7.12—7.85 and 7.85—8.48 t/ha, respectively. A positive correlation was found between the RUE in certain periods of pre-anthesis development and grain yield, and the grain number per 1 m2, with the exception for the period of stem elongation—booting. The greater efficiency of converting light energy into biomass at the period before anthesis contributes to increasing wheat grain productivity that is associated with a higher rate of above-ground biomass accumulation at the period before flowering and larger number of grains per square meter of soil. These data supported suggestion that a higher RUE during the pre-anthesis growth period may be considered as an important determinant of high wheat productivity and may be used as a potential breeding criterion for high wheat productivity.
Keywords: Triticum aestivum L., radiation use efficiency, pre-anthesis biomass accumulation, productivity
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