Data are presented on the relationship between seed yield, its distribution and the duration of growth. A plant model is proposed to achieve earlier ripening as well as high yield. The possibility of achieving this model is evaluated.
The F1 and F2 progenies of a complete diallel cross between seven inbred lines of field beans (Vicia faba spp. minor) were studied in order to elucidate the possibilities for breeding for earlier ripening without sacrificing seed yield. In a space-planted field trial the inheritance of and relationship among yield and earliness characters were examined.
On average the F1 generation was superior to F2 in seed yield as well as earliness of flowering and ripening. General combining ability (g.c.a.) effects were highly significant for all the characters studied and very high narrow-sense heritabilities were found for most characters. Specific combining ability (s.c.a.) effects were significant for all characters except for number of inflorescences, and significant reciprocal effects were found for seed yield and date of anthesis.
Because of the importance of g.c.a. effects, the phenotypic correlations were mainly determined by, and therefore similar to, the additive genetic correlations in showing a positive relationship between yield and the duration of pre- as well as postanthesis growth. However, a relatively strong negative non-additive genetic correlation was found between yield and duration of post-anthesis growth.
Path analysis showed that 70–82% of the variation in post-anthesis growth was accounted for by the distribution of seed yield described by four yield components, thus supporting the hypothesis that the duration of post-anthesis growth is highly dependent on the distribution and size of the seeds.
Two possibilities for breeding earlier-ripening, high-yielding cultivars are suggested: (1) exploiting hybrid vigour in terms of earlier ripening and (2) reducing the duration of post-anthesis growth byselecting for more seeds per pod and more pods per inflorescence.