Genetic Improvement in Short Season Soybeans
- Saratha Kumudini *a,
- David J. Humeb and
- Godfrey Chuc
Genetic improvement of short-season soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] cultivars has resulted in a 0.5% annual gain in yield. Although yield is the product of dry matter (DM) accumulation and partitioning, the relative contributions of these two components of yield to genetic improvement has not been documented. Furthermore, the mechanism by which higher DM accumulation or harvest index (HI) is accomplished in the newer cultivars is unclear. The objective of the current study was to characterize DM accumulation and partitioning in cultivars which differ in yield potential, and determine the role of these traits in yield improvement. Two older (low yield potential) and two newer (higher yield potential) soybean cultivars of similar maturity were grown in side-by-side trials in 1996 and 1997. Plant samples were taken during each growing season and separated into leaves, stems + petioles, roots, and seeds. Dry matter accumulation and leaf area indices were measured. Seed yield of the new cultivars was 30% greater than their older counterparts. Increased DM accumulation contributed 78% and increased HI contributed 22% towards the genetic gain in yield. Total plant dry weight increased to a maximum around R4/R5 and subsequently declined during the seed-filling period (SFP) as pod development increased and leaf senescence began. This decline in dry weight during the SFP was greater for the old than for the new cultivars. The newer cultivars maintained leaf area further into the SFP than the old cultivars enabling continued dry matter accumulation. The results of this experiment indicate that genetic yield improvement in the short-season soybean cultivars examined was mainly associated with longer leaf area duration and the subsequently greater DM accumulation.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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