Seed priming improves irrigation water use efficiency, yield, and yield components of late-sown wheat under limited water conditions


Abstract: A randomized complete block design field study with split plot arrangements was conducted during 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 at the Agronomic Research Station in Khanewal, Pakistan, to evaluate if seed priming could improve grain yield and water use efficiency of late-sown wheat under limited water supply conditions. Seeds of cultivar Inqlab-91 received one of the following treatments: they were soaked in aerated distilled water for 12 or 24 h (hydropriming), layered between moist gunny bags for 12 or 24 h (matriconditioning), soaked in tap water for 12 h (on-farm priming), or hydroprimed for 12 h and then kept at -20 °C for 12 h (hydropriming + chilling). Crops were subjected to 5 irrigation regimes in which irrigation was applied equivalent to 120%, 100%, 80%, 60%, or 40% of evapotranspiration (ETo). Seed priming treatments reduced the mean emergence time and promoted germination, early canopy development, and tillering in comparison to the untreated control. The number of fertile tillers, plant height, 1000-grain weight, and grain and biological yield were also increased by different priming techniques. On-farm priming and hydropriming for 12 h gave higher grain and biological yields and higher harvest index than other priming treatments. Seed priming increased the irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE) of all irrigation regimes. Grain yields were linearly increased at 100% ETo while maximum IWUE was achieved at 80% ETo. Results suggest that the use of either on-farm priming or hydropriming of seeds for 12 h can be helpful in improving grain yields in late-sown wheat under both optimum as well as limited water conditions.

Keywords: Irrigation, late sowing, seed priming, water deficit, wheat, yield

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