Single irrigation at the four-leaf stage in the spring optimizes winter wheat water consumption characteristics and water use efficiency

Sci Rep. 2022 Aug 22;12(1):14257. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-18446-8.

ABSTRACT

Water scarcity is a key constraint to crop production in North China Plain (NCP), which produces the majority of the country’s winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). The objective of this three-year field study was to see whether and when irrigation one-time in spring improved grain productivity and water use efficiency. Four sets of irrigation were established at the 3-leaf visible stage (L3) and the L4, L5, and L6 stages. When irrigation time was postponed, the spike number, 1000-grain weight, and water consumption increased progressively, whereas grain yield, grain number, dry matter, harvest, and WUE grew, then dropped, and peaked at L4. The increased grain number can be attributed to the L4’s higher daily water consumption and water consumption percentage throughout the jointing-anthesis stages compared to the L3, L5, and L6. The cumulative (37 days), whereas it was longer in L3, L5, and L6(40, 42, and 43 days, respectively). Furthermore, flag leaf senescence was postponed in L4 with a higher post-anthesis leaf area index, photosynthetic rate, chlorophyll content, higher superoxide dismutase activity, and lower malondialdehyde concentration. As a result, single irrigation at the 4-leaf visible stage optimized water deficit and consumption before and after anthesis, resulting in higher yield and WUE in the NCP.

PMID:35995920 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-022-18446-8

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