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Do you live outside the United States? Register here. Connect with:. Facebook Google. Signing Up. Log In Sign Up. View Comments. Login Remember Me By logging into your account, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy , and to the use of cookies as described therein. Traits important for vigorous early growth in cereals were identified by comparing barley with bread wheat Lopez-Castaneda et al.

This comparison showed that large embryo size, high SLA , and growth of a large coleoptile tiller were important attributes of barley, which is characterized by very high early vigour, but these traits were lacking in semi-dwarf wheats. Extensive screening of a collection of tall wheats revealed excellent sources of each of these traits Richards and Lukacs, In a targeted breeding programme, these were combined to produce a new parental line with early leaf area growth double that of current Australian semi-dwarf varieties Richards et al. The sets of vigour backcross lines grown by Botwright et al.

The high vigour traits of large embryo, large coleoptile tillers, and greater SLA are now being combined in GA-sensitive semi-dwarf backgrounds so as to achieve early vigour much more like barley Richards et al. To counter this, Richards et al. This is because of the high heritability of leaf width and its strong association with early leaf area. Growth and yield of two sets of BC 2 :F 5 -derived wheat breeding lines contrasting for early vigour and sown at two locations in Western Australia in from Botwright et al.

The outcomes of the simulation study summarized earlier Fig. Is such a combination of traits possible? This may be desirable for other reasons. SLA has relatively low heritability in cereals Rebetzke et al. Also, simulation modelling of the impact of selecting for higher SLA in wheat indicates that maintaining N supply may be an important prerequisite for sustaining yield gains achieved via this trait Asseng et al. There is now growing evidence that targeting specific traits in a breeding programme may lead to higher agronomic water-use efficiency.

It is also clear that the effects of any one trait must be considered in the context of the environment in which the crop is to be grown. The new varieties result from a backcrossing programme targeting environments where stored soil moisture needs to be metered out from relatively early in the cropping season so as to maximize seed set and sustain seed growth.

Effective selection protocols for faster leaf area growth have been devised and shown to be successful for yield improvement in Mediterranean-type environments. Relatively simple techniques are now available for characterizing variation in stomatal conductance and photosynthetic capacity. Other interactions may also come into play. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.

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It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Contents. Water-use efficiency as a breeding target. Breeding for greater leaf-level water-use efficiency.

Greater early vigour to improve agronomic water-use efficiency. Breeding for high water-use efficiency A. Oxford Academic.

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Abstract There is a pressing need to improve the water-use efficiency of rain-fed and irrigated crop production. Carbon isotope discrimination , drought resistance , transpiration efficiency , wheat. While agronomic water-use efficiency will be taken to be the ultimate breeding target, a major thrust of this article will be to place the physiological definition of water-use efficiency in the context of the farmer's definition.

To do this it is useful to consider crop yield as being constructed from a framework of relatively simple components equation 1. The prospect of improving agronomic water-use efficiency by breeding for greater leaf-level water-use efficiency has long been an attractive one Fischer, Open in new tab Download slide. The proportion of 13 C in the dry matter of C 3 plants is fractionally less than in the atmosphere, primarily because C 3 species discriminate against 13 C during photosynthesis. Table 1.

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Fischer RA. Passioura JB. Richards RA, Lukacs Z. Simmonds NW. Stapper M, Harris HC. Journal of Experimental Botany , Vol.

Water-Use Efficiency: Advances and Challenges in a Changing Climate

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Plant Modification for More Efficient Water Use

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Impact of Ambient Air Temperature Exposure to higher temperatures from both experimental evidence and simulation models shows the CO 2 —induced benefit to conductance diminishes as temperatures increase. Solar Radiation One component of the changing climate that is often overlooked, but extremely critical for growth is the solar radiation regime. Cropping System Impacts on Water Use Efficiency Cropping systems interact with climate with changes in phenology, growth, yield, and water use Hatfield et al.

Cultural Practices at the Canopy Scale Fertilizer Application and Mulching Climate change can extend beyond the direct impacts on photosynthesis and water use by canopies to the indirect impacts related to changes in cultural practices that would affect how crop canopies respond to climate variation. Irrigation Another manipulation of the microclimate of the crop is to apply irrigation as a water supply to overcome water deficits.

Crop Arrangement Manipulation of row spacing will affect the partitioning of the soil water evaporation and the transpiration of the canopy. Crop Rotations and Mixed Crop Stands To cope with climate change, one adaptive strategy would be to diversify the crop rotation to increase the resilience of the overall cropping system. Agroforestry Another strategy is to utilize agroforestry systems AFS , where woody perennials i. Water Use Efficiency Trends Basso and Ritchie suggested that WUE has increased over time because the grain yields have increased while water use has remained relatively constant.

Author Contributions All authors listed have made a substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the work, and approved it for publication. Conflict of Interest Statement The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Acknowledgments This research was partially supported by USDA NIFA Project , Developing and promoting water-, nutrient-, and climatesmart technologies to help agricultural systems adapt to climate and societal changes.

Footnotes Funding. References Ainsworth E. A meta-analysis of elevated [CO2] effects on soybean Glycine max physiology, growth and yield. Global Change Biol. A meta-analytic review of the responses of photosynthesis, canopy properties and plant production to rising CO2.

New Phytol. The response of photosynthesis and stomatal conductance to rising [CO2]: mechanisms and environmental interactions. Plant Cell Environ. Soil amendments strategies to improve water-use efficiency and productivity of maize under different irrigation conditions. Water Manage.