Evaluation of grain yield and its components in wheat cultivars and landraces under near optimal and drought conditions
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In a 2-years experiment, 30 wheat cultivars and 21 landraces from different countries were tested under near optimum and drought stress conditions. Plant height, number of sterile spikelets per spike, spikelets per spike, number of kernels per spike, kernel weight per spike, 1000 kernel weight and grain yield were evaluated. The number of kernels per spike, 1000 kernel weight and especially yield were more sensitive to drought stress in the cultivars than plant height and number of spikelets per spike, while in the landraces these traits did not differ under drought stress compared to near optimum conditions. The average yield of cultivars was significantly better than the average yield of landraces under near optimum as well as drought stress conditions. Path coefficient analysis showed that for cultivars under near optimum conditions there was no significant direct association of any of the analysed characters with yield, while under drought stress conditions, number of kernels per spike had a significant positive direct effect. Under drought stress conditions, the number of sterile spikelets displayed a negative direct effect, while kernel weight per spike had a positive direct effect on yield. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used as a tool to classify cultivars and landraces according to their yield ability under near optimum and drought stress conditions. Among the cultivars, two groups out of five and among one of three in the landraces were characterised by high yields in both near optimum as well as under drought stress conditions. These genotypes may serve as sources of germplasm for breeding for drought tolerance.
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