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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01521

The Contribution of Functional Traits to the Breeding Progress of Central-European Winter Wheat under Differing Crop Management Intensities

  • 1Institute of Crop Science and Plant Breeding, Agronomy and Crop Science, University of Kiel, Germany

Wheat yields in many of the main producing European countries stagnate since about 20 years. Hence, it is of high interest, to analyze breeding progress in terms of yield and how associated trait changed. Therefore, a set of 42 cultivars (released between 1966 and 2012) was selected and yield as well as functional traits defined by the Monteith and Moss equation were evaluated under three levels of management intensity. The Monteith Moss equation thereby calculates grain yield as the product of incident photosynthetically active radiation, fraction of intercepted radiation, radiation use efficiency and harvest index. The field trial was performed in a high yielding environment in Northern Germany in two seasons (2016–2017 and 2017–2018) with very contrasting rainfall rates. The three differing managements were: intensive (high N + pesticides), semi-intensive (high N - pesticides), and extensive (low N - pesticides).
The results indicate that the stagnation of wheat yields in Central-Europe is not caused by a diminishing effect of breeding on yield potential. This equally applies to suboptimal growing conditions like extensified crop management and restricted water supply. Nearly all functional sub-traits showed a parallel progress but coefficients of determination of relationships between traits and year of variety release are decreasing along the hierarchy of yield formation. One exception is radiation interception which did not show a stable linear increase during breeding history. In recent years, biomass is getting more important in comparison to harvest index. Values of harvest index are slowly approaching theoretical maxima and correlations with grain yield are decreasing.

Keywords: wheat, Breeding progress, harvest index, biomass, radiation interception, radiation use efficiency, high-throughput phenotyping, UAV

Received: 01 Jul 2019; Accepted: 31 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Rose and Kage. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Till Rose, University of Kiel, Institute of Crop Science and Plant Breeding, Agronomy and Crop Science, Kiel, Germany,