During March, 2007, we initiated a “Hot Serial Cereal” experiment at Maricopa, AZ. The “cereal” comes from using wheat, the “serial” comes from our planting the wheat serially every six weeks over a 2-yr time period, and finally, the “hot” comes from our deploying arrays of infrared heaters over 3-m-diameter plots of the wheat on three of the planting dates (1Mar, 1Sep, and 1 Dec). These treatments will expose the wheat to a huge range of high temperatures from natural seasonal changes (wheat is not a summer crop here) and from the infrared heating. The heaters control the wheat canopy temperatures to be 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) above a reference plot during daytime and 3.0 C (5.4 F) at night to simulate the amount of global warming expected toward the end of this century.
Besides obtaining useful agronomic information about the optimal planting time for wheat in our area, we are also obtaining valuable data to text the temperature response aspects of processes in wheat growth models. Such models will be used to predict the future productivity and water requirements of wheat in the U.S. and around the world.
Scientists involved include Bruce A. Kimball (Soil Scientist), Jeffrey W. White (Plant Physiologist), and Gerard W. Wall (Plant Physiologist) from the U.S. Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center, Maricopa, AZ, and Michael J. Ottman (Extension Agronomist) from the Plant Sciences Department, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Technical assistance comes from Matt Conley, Laura Olivieri, Zahra Troeh, and Charlie Blackshear.
The next page shows an overall view of the wheat plots planted in March, 2007, and the page after that shows an array of infrared heaters deployed over a 3-m-diameter plot of the wheat.