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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Plant Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #393610

Research Project: Genetic Improvement and Cropping Systems of Alfalfa for Livestock Utilization, Environmental Protection and Soil Health

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Rapid in situ nondestructive evaluation of lodging risk in dryland agronomic wheat research

item MANGIN, AMY - University Of Manitoba
item Heuschele, Deborah - Jo
item BRULE-BABEL, ANITA - University Of Manitoba
item FALTEN, DONALD - University Of Manitoba
item WIERSMA, JOCHUM - University Of Manitoba
item LAYLEY, YVONNE - University Of Manitoba

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/8/2022
Publication Date: 7/28/2022
Citation: Mangin, A., Heuschele, D.J., Brule-Babel, A., Falten, D., Wiersma, J.J., Layley, Y.E. 2022. Rapid in situ nondestructive evaluation of lodging risk in dryland agronomic wheat research. Agronomy Journal. 114:2822-2829.

Interpretive Summary: Measuring lodging of small grains on a research plot scale is destructive and time consuming. The "Stalker" was a tool developed for rapidly measuring stem strength and elasticity as substitute traits for lodging in an oat breeding program. In this study we evaluated the ability of this tool to be used to detect differences between agronomic management practices that are known to impact lodging. First, the Stalker could rapidly indicate lodging risk in wheat trials testing different management practices. Secondly, these differences were found to be the most significant at flowering instead of maturity, which suggests that this tool can be used to predict lodging earlier in the season than other measurements. Use of the Stalker will save time and facilitate measurements of lodging so that plant breeders can improve lodging resistance in small grain cultivars and increase harvested yields.

Technical Abstract: Natural occurrence of lodging in small-plot research to record visual ratings is unpredictable, highly dependent on environmental conditions, and does not differentiate between root and shoot lodging. Detailed plant characteristics can used to indicate lodging risk; however, such measurements are destructive and extremely time-consuming for research projects that are not focused solely on lodging evaluation. The Stalker push force meter is a non-destructive tool that can rapidly measure stem strength and elasticity, which may be useful to measure lodging risk in small plot research to indicate both root and shoot lodging. The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of The Stalker to detect agronomic management practices that are known to reduce lodging risk (reduced plant density, split nitrogen (N) applications and plant growth regulator (PGR) applications). Stalk strength (force) and elasticity (displacement, energy, and power) measurements were taken at anthesis and physiological maturity from a small plot agronomic research trial. The Stalker was able to identify high and low lodging risk practices. Lower plant density led to increased stem strength (measured by force) and stem flexibility (measured by displacement) compared to high plant densities, indicating a decreased risk of both stem and root lodging when low plant densities are used. Overall, The Stalker push force meter is a new tool for rapid, non-destructive, measurement of lodging risk in small plot agronomic research trials and can differentiate between stem and root lodging susceptibility by measuring both stem strength and elasticity.