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Adaptation of Lentil to the Mediterranean Environment. I. Factors Affecting Yield Under Drought Conditions

  • S. N. Silim (a1), M. C. Saxena (a1) and W. Erskine (a1)

Summary

Lentil frequently suffers from drought stress towards the end of the growing season in rainfed Mediterranean farming systems. This study aimed to quantify the contribution of yield potential under irrigated conditions and of drought escape to the adaptation of lentils to drought, and to identify traits of value in selection for adaptation to a rain-fed Mediterranean environment. Twenty-five diverse lentil lines were sown under both irrigated and rainfed conditions in the 1987/88 and 1988/89 seasons in northern Syria. In 1987/88 the total seasonal rainfall was 403 mm and average rainfed biomass and seed yields were 5.0 and 1.8 t ha-l, respectively. In contrast, in 1988/89 the total season rainfall was 180 mm and average biomass and seed yields were only 0.67 and 0.12 t ha-1, respectively. Early vigour (estimated as a visual score) and percentage ground cover were strongly associated with final biomass, and were of value in predicting economic yield (seed + straw). Early maturity was correlated with seed yield. In the dry season 1988/89, 49% of the variation in seed yield among lines was accounted for by variation in flowering time. Drought escape was clearly the key response to drought. For severely drought-prone areas, selection for early flowering is therefore required. Variation in flowering time and seed yield under irrigated conditions accounted for 62% of seed yield variation under drought stress.

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Adaptation of Lentil to the Mediterranean Environment. I. Factors Affecting Yield Under Drought Conditions

  • S. N. Silim (a1), M. C. Saxena (a1) and W. Erskine (a1)

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