The effect of water injection at seeding in dry soil on the germination and growth of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Public Deposited

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  • Stand establishment plays a significant role in the development and yield of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Availability of soil moisture to the germinating seed is one of the most critical factors affecting stand establishment. Water injection is a method of applying supplemental moisture to the soil in direct contact with the seed by injecting small amounts of water into seed-zone at planting. The purpose of this study was to evaluate water injection as a means of enhancing stand establishment by improving soil moisture conditions surrounding the germinating seed. Several water injection and combinations of water with liquid starter fertilizer treatments were compared with a check which received no water, under different soil water potential treatments in growth chambers and in field studies. Two soft white winter wheat cultivars, Faro and Stephens, were compared. In preliminary experiments water was added to the seed-zone of dry soil (-11 bars) at rates of 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 ml/m row in one experiment 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 ml/m row in another (soil at -15 bars). These treatments increased seed-zone moisture content immediately after adding water and the moisture remained higher for 9 days. Thus, it appeared that water injection should be effective in hastening imbibition by seeds. Subsequently, 40, 50 and 60 ml/m row water only and combination of each water rate with 5 ml/m row of a liquid fertilizer mixture, 10-34-0, improved stand establishment over the check under -11 and -15 bars soil moisture potentials. Higher concentrations of liquid fertilizer depressed germination and emergence rate. These studies were done in growth chambers. Water alone at rate of 50 ml/m and the combination of 50 ml/m water plus 5 ml/m 10-34-0 treatments, resulted in greater stand establishment, plant growth and yield compared to the check under -11 bars tension in 1979-80 field study. Cultivars did not differ in stand establishment and plant growth due to water or water plus fertilizer injection. Both 20 and 40 ml water only treatments improved stand establishment over the check, but the 40 ml water/m row rate resulted in the greatest emergence and gave the highest emergence rate index under -11 and -9 bars tension in 1980 growth chamber study and 1980-81 field study, respectively. The 40 ml water/m row alone and the combination of 40 ml water/m row with low rates of fertilizer improved plant development, leaf P content and yield over the checks under -9 bars tension in 1980-81 field study. All three water injections at rates of 20, 40 and 60 ml/m in 1981-82 field study increased seed-zone moisture content, and improved imbibition, stand establishment and seedling growth over the check in fallowed (-6 bars) and non-fallowed (-8 bars).
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