Leaf K/Na ratio predicts salinity induced yield loss in irrigated rice
- 779 Downloads
Salinity is a major constraint to irrigated rice production, particularly in semi-arid and arid climates. Irrigated rice is a well suited crop to controlling and even decreasing soil salinity, but rice is a salt-susceptible crop and yield losses due to salinity can be substantial. The objective of this study was to develop a highly predictive screening tool for the vegetative growth stage of rice to estimate salinity-induced yield losses. Twenty-one rice genotypes were grown over seven seasons in a field trials in Ndiaye, Senegal, between 1991 and 1995 and were subjected to irrigation with moderately saline water (3.5 mS cm-1, electrical conductivity) or irrigation with fresh water. Potassium/sodium ratios of the youngest three leaves (K/NaLeaves) were determined by flame photometry at the late vegetative stage. Grain yield was determined at maturity. All cultivars showed strong log-linear correlations between K/NaLeaves and grain yield, but intercept and slope of those correlations differed between seasons for a given genotype and between genotypes. The K/NaLeaves under salinity was related to grain yield under salinity relative to freshwater controls. There was a highly significant correlation (p < 0.001) between K/NaLeaves and salinity-induced grain yield reduction: the most susceptible cultivars had lowest K/NaLeaves and the strongest yield reductions. Although there were major differences in the effects of salinity on crops in both the hot dry season (HDS) and the wet season, the correlation was equally significant across cropping seasons. The earliest possible time to establish the relationship between K/NaLeaves under salinity and grain yield reduction due to salinity was investigated in an additional trial in the HDS 1998. About 60 days after sowing, salinity-induced yield loss could be predicted through K/NaLeaves with a high degree of confidence (p < 0.01). A screening system for salinity resistance of rice, particularly in arid and semi-arid climates, is proposed based on the correlation between K/NaLeaves under salinity and salinity-induced yield losses.