Crop Yield

pp 67-107

Barley: Physiology of Yield

  • D. L. Smith
  • , M. Dijak
  • , P. Bulman
  • , B. L. Ma
  • , C. HamelAffiliated withNatural Resource Department, McGill University

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Physiology describes the operation of a plant at the biochemical, cell, tissue, organ and whole plant levels, recognizing that all of these are under the control of the plant genome. In the case of crop plants we are interested in how the combined operation of all plant’s functions leads to the production of the harvestable component which, in cereal crops, is generally grain. Broadly speaking, the most important of the physiological activities in a crop plant with regard to yield are dry matter production, nutrient uptake, plant component partitioning and the processes of development (especially grain filling and the other aspects of yield component development). The developmental processes occur sequentially in time and involve progressive shifts in physiology. As barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is a feed grain and a major source of malting grain for beer and spirits, aspects of physiology that affect the amount of grain produced and its quality (the amount of energy and protein) are of special interest.