Variability in yield of four grain legume species in a subhumid temperate environment I. Yields and harvest index
Ayaz, S and McKenzie, BA and Hill, GD and McNeil, DL, Variability in yield of four grain legume species in a subhumid temperate environment I. Yields and harvest index, Journal of Agricultural Science, 142 pp. 9-19. ISSN 0021-8596 (2004) [Refereed Article]
In 1998/99 and 1999/2000, field trials were conducted to try to explain why grain legume yields and harvest index are more variable than many other crops. Treatments involved varying plant populations and sowing depths and were selected to maximize plant variability. Both yields and harvest index were variable. Total dry matter (TDM) production generally increased as plant population increased up to twice the optimum population. Increases ranged from 80 to 130% with lupins producing the highest yields of 878 and 972 g/m 2 of TDM in 1998/99 and 1999/2000 respectively. While plants sown at 10 cm depth produced more TDM than did plants sown at 2 cm, the difference was only 3%. Seed yields followed similar trends to TDM, with maximum yields (mean of 403 g seed/m2) produced at twice the optimum population. Crop harvest index (CHI) was quite variable and ranged from 0.31 to 0.66. Crop HI was lowest (0.43) at the lowest population and increased to 0.55 at twice the optimum plant population. In both seasons, lentil had the highest CHI and lupin the lowest. While CHI was variable there were very close relationships between seed yield and TDM which suggested that maximum seed yield depends on maximizing TDM production. The results also suggest that growers should increase population by a factor of two to obtain maximum seed yields.