Simulating growth, development, and yield of tillering pearl millet: I. Leaf area profiles on main shoots and tillers uri icon

abstract

  • Pearl millet (Pennisteum americanum L.) is an essential crop in farming systems of the dry areas of the semi-arid tropics and its tillering habit is an important adaptive feature. This is the first paper in a series aiming at developing and validating a pearl millet simulation model that recognises tillers as functional entities, analogous to intercrops. The objective of this paper is to quantify the effects of total leaf number per axis (TLN), cultivar, plant density and axis number on parameters that are used to simulate potential leaf area per plant. Four cultivars with different phenology and tillering habit were grown under well-watered and well-fertilised conditions at two locations in India, covering a range of daylengths and plant densities. For selected plants, the area of fully expanded leaves was measured non-destructively. A bell-shaped function adequately described the relationship between individual leaf area and leaf position on an axis. Its shape was determined by the position (X0) and area (Y0) of the largest leaf and by the breadth and skewness of the leaf area profile curve. TLN affected all four parameters, although the association with Y0 was weak. Cultivar only affected Y0, suggesting that parameterising new cultivars is straightforward. The observed density effect confirmed that competition for light between axes started during stem elongation. The results highlighted the consistent differences between leaf area profiles of main shoots and tillers. For a high-tillering crop like pearl millet, modelling leaf area dynamics through individual leaves is justified, as this approach can potentially deal with cultivar and environmental effects on tillering

publication date

  • 2001
  • 2001