Genotype × management strategies to stabilise the flowering time of wheat in the south-eastern Australian wheatbelt Academic Article uri icon


  • Growers in the wheatbelt of south-eastern Australia need increases in water-limited potential yield (PYw) in order to remain competitive in a changing climate and with declining terms of trade. In drought-prone regions, flowering time is a critical determinant of yield for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Flowering time is a function of the interaction between management (M, establishment date), genotype (G, development rate) and prevailing seasonal conditions. Faced with increasing farm size and declining autumn rainfall, growers are now sowing current fast-developing spring wheat cultivars too early. In order to widen the sowing window and ensure optimum flowering dates for maximum yield, new G × M strategies need to be identified and implemented. This study examined the effect of manipulating genotype (winter vs spring wheat and long vs short coleoptile) and management (sowing date, fallow length and sowing depth) interventions on yield and flowering date in high-, medium- and low-rainfall zones in south-eastern Australia. Twelve strategies were simulated at nine sites over the period 1990–2016. At all sites, the highest yielding strategies involved winter wheats with long coleoptiles established on stored subsoil moisture from the previous rotation, and achieved a mean yield increase of 1200 kg/ha or 42% relative to the baseline strategy. The results show promise for winter wheats with long coleoptiles to widen the sowing window, remove the reliance on autumn rainfall for early establishment and thus stabilise flowering and maximise yield. This study predicts that G × M strategies that stabilise flowering may increase PYw.

publication date

  • 2018