Water stress and time of floral initiation in pearl millet uri icon

abstract

  • The interaction of water stress and time from sowing to floral initiation was investigated in the field with pearl millet hybrid BJ 104. Extended daylength was used to delay panicle initiation (PI) and flowering (FL) of crops exposed to single periods of mid-season drought. Growth, yield and yield components were related to the number of days for PI and FL in both irrigated and water-stressed treatments. Delay in PI resulted in more leaves and tillers per plant, and greater leaf area, height and total dry matter. Grain yield, however, was not affected resulting in lower ?harvest index?. There was, however, an increase in the grain yield of main shoots which was offset by a proportional decrease in the grain yield of tillers.Water stress effects were dependent on the physiological stage of the crop at which stress occurred, as a result of the photoperiod treatments. Water stress prior to panicle initiation did not affect the grain yield of the main shoot but increased tiller grain yield, resulting in a higher total (crop) grain yield. Water stress during panicle development reduced the grain yield on the main shoot but this loss was compensated by the grain from the increased number of tiller panicles which reached flowering. Water stress during flowering and grain filling reduced grain yields of both main shoot and tillers, making this the most sensitive stage. Photoperiodic control of floral initiation can provide an escape mechanism to avoid the coincidence of mid-season water stress with sensitive periods of growth

publication date

  • 1985
  • 1985