Growth and water use of irrigated and dryland lentils and wheat
van Kessel, C.
de Jong, E.
Peer Reviewed StatusNon-Peer Reviewed
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Lentils are becoming an increasingly more important crop in Saskatchewan with over 230,000 ha planted in 1987. A large part of this acreage was in the Brown Soil Zone. To date lentil water relations and adaptation to water deficits are largely undescribed. This study was initiated to determine the drought tolerance characteristics of lentils and to compare them to those of wheat growing under the same weather conditions. Dryland lentils exhibited considerable drought tolerance with large changes in osmotic potential in response to increasing soil water deficits. Despite maintaining high levels of turgor, values of stomatal conductance were very low. This behaviour enabled leaves to maintain high relative water contents and survive an extensive dry period. In contrast wheat displayed little drought tolerance. Consequently throughout the growing season the rates of dry land to irrigated above-ground dry matter was consistently higher for lentils than for wheat and at final harvest was 0. 71 and 0.41 for the two crops, respectively. Wheat and lentils had similar water use efficiencies, but lentils used more water because of their greater dry matter production. Very high dry matter production in irrigated lentils did not translocate into high grain yields.
Part OfSoils and Crops Workshop
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