Root Traits Enhancing Rice Grain Yield under Alternate Wetting and Drying Condition. uri icon

abstract

  • Reducing water requirements and lowering environmental footprints require attention to minimize risks to food security. The present study was conducted with the aim to identify appropriate root traits enhancing rice grain yield under alternate wetting and drying conditions (AWD) and identify stable, high-yielding genotypes better suited to the AWD across variable ecosystems. Advanced breeding lines, popular rice varieties and drought-tolerant lines were evaluated in a series of 23 experiments conducted in the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Cambodia in 2015 and 2016. A large variation in grain yield under AWD conditions enabled the selection of high-yielding and stable genotypes across locations, seasons and years. Water savings of 5.7-23.4% were achieved without significant yield penalty across different ecosystems. The mean grain yield of genotypes across locations ranged from 3.5 to 5.6 t/ha and the mean environment grain yields ranged from 3.7 (Cambodia) to 6.6 (India) t/ha. The best-fitting Finlay-Wilkinson regression model identified eight stable genotypes with mean grain yield of more than 5.0 t/ha across locations. Multidimensional preference analysis represented the strong association of root traits (nodal root number, root dry weight at 22 and 30 days after transplanting) with grain yield. The genotype IR14L253 outperformed in terms of root traits and high mean grain yield across seasons and six locations. The 1.0 t/ha yield advantage of IR14L253 over the popular cultivar IR64 under AWD shall encourage farmers to cultivate IR14L253 and also adopt AWD. The results suggest an important role of root architectural traits in term of more number of nodal roots and root dry weight at 10-20 cm depth on 22-30 days after transplanting (DAT) in providing yield stability and preventing yield reduction under AWD compared to continuous flooded conditions. Genotypes possessing increased number of nodal roots provided higher yield over IR64 as well as no yield reduction under AWD compared to flooded irrigation. The identification of appropriate root architecture traits at specific depth and specific growth stage shall help breeding programs develop better rice varieties for AWD conditions.

publication date

  • 2017
  • 2017