Spring irrigation management of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) seed production Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/0g354h77c

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  • Introduction of later maturing cultivars of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) places more seed production fields in a period of drought common to Oregon during vital stages of reproductive development. During these stages, the final yield of the crop is largely determined by the number of seeds set, and the development of individual seed weight. There is belief that water deficit during these periods may drastically reduce yield, which could be eliminated with properly timed spring irrigation. Therefore, this study was undertaken to (i) determine crop water use and water use efficiency of both irrigated and non-irrigated perennial ryegrass cultivars, (ii) observe any water use differences as a result of cultivar differences in perennial ryegrass, (iii) compare seed yield and seed yield components of different cultivars within irrigated and non-irrigated treatments, and (iv) determine appropriate timing and amount of irrigation to apply if it is revealed that irrigation enhances yield. A linear irrigation system was used to apply irrigation to six cultivars of perennial ryegrass in the crop years 2003 and 2004. In 2003 from 1 March to 25 July, 285 mm of water was consumed by non-irrigated plants, 365 mm when soil profile was filled once prior to peak anthesis, and 388 mm when soil moisture was maintained within 50 mm of field capacity to peak anthesis. In 2004 from 1 March to 8 July, nonirrigated plants consumed 279 mm of water, 353 mm from treatment to fill soil profile once, and 482 mm from treatment that maintained soil moisture up to peak anthesis. No statistical difference was observed in water use efficiency between treatments in 2003. In 2004 an interaction was observed between cultivars and irrigation, thus cultivars responded differently to irrigation. Contrasts revealed that cultivars responded differently with respect to water use efficiency. In 2003, irrigation to maintain soil moisture resulted in a 27% increase in yield, 18% due to an increase in seed number, and 8% due to an increase in seed weight. Irrigation to fill profile once resulted in a 21% increase in yield, 14% due to an increase in seed number, and 6% due to an increase in seed weight. In 2004 a cultivar by irrigation interaction was observed for total yield, seed weight, and seed number. Seed yield was increased by irrigation in all cultivars. In 2003, irrigation to maintain soil moisture began 3 June and corresponded with the beginning of anthesis, and proceeded to peak anthesis, 11 June. No rainfall was received during this period, or the period of seed fill which followed. In 2004 irrigation to maintain soil moisture began 29 April, and continued to peak anthesis, 4 June. Irrigation to fill profile once occurred between 3 June and 7 June in 2003, and between 31 May and 4 June in 2004. In 2004 significant rainfall occurred after peak anthesis during the period of seed fill. Data from both years suggest that irrigation to alleviate water deficit from the onset of anthesis through peak anthesis provides the plant with sufficient water to increase individual seed weight and seed set, thus improving overall yield.
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