Limiting transpiration rate in high evaporative demand conditions to improve Australian wheat productivity

Collins, Brian, Chapman, Scott, Hammer, Graeme, and Chenu, Karine (2021) Limiting transpiration rate in high evaporative demand conditions to improve Australian wheat productivity. in silico Plants, 3 (1).

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Limited-transpiration rate at high evaporative demand (‘LTR’ trait) has potential to improve drought adaptation, crop water productivity and food security. The quantification of the implications of LTR for water consumption, biomass accumulation and yield formation requires the use of dynamic crop modelling to simulate physiological and environmental processes and interactions in target environments. Here, a new transpiration module was developed for the Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM NextGen) and used to simulate atmospheric and edaphic water stress on wheat crops. This module was parameterised with (i) data from a lysimeter experiment assessing genotypic variability in the LTR trait for four genotypes contrasting in transpiration efficiency, and with (ii) a more pronounced response to high evaporative demand. The potential of the LTR trait for improving crop productivity was investigated across the Australian wheatbelt over 1989-2018. The LTR trait was simulated to allow an increase in national yield by up to 2.6%, mostly due to shift in water use pattern, alleviation of water deficit during grain filling period and a higher harvest index. Greatest productivity gains were found in the northeast (4.9%, on average) where heavy soils allow the conserved water with the LTR trait to be available later at more critical stages. The effect of the LTR trait on yield was enhanced under the future climate scenario, particularly in the northeast. Limiting transpiration at high evaporative demands appears to be a promising trait for selection by breeders, especially in drought-prone environments where crops heavily rely on stored soil moisture.

Item ID: 69736
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2517-5025
Keywords: APSIM NextGen; breeding; climate change; crop adaptation; drought resilience; water conservation
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2021 01:46
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310806 Plant physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 26 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 2699 Other plant production and plant primary products > 269901 Climate adaptive plants @ 100%
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