Performance of elite genotypes of barley, chickpea, lentil, and wheat under conservation agriculture in Mediterranean rainfed conditions

Published Date
June 14, 2021
Type
Journal Article
Performance of elite genotypes of barley, chickpea, lentil, and wheat under conservation agriculture in Mediterranean rainfed conditions
Authors:
Mina Devkota Wasti
Somanagouda Patil, Somanagouda Patil, Shiv Kumar Agrawal, Jacques Wery

Conservation agriculture (CA) practices are becoming more important in Mediterranean rainfed areas
due to their potential to minimize climatic risk, reduce soil erosion, and improve soil quality and water
availability. Due to minimum soil disturbance and crop residue retention, the soil environment for crop
growth and development can differ between CA and conventional tillage (CT) practice. However, breeding
targets for improving yield performance in CA system remain poorly explored. The objective of this study
was to assess the performance of elite genotypes of barley, chickpea, lentil, and wheat grown under CA,
a promising alternative agricultural practice in the Mediterranean rainfed conditions. A three-year field
study, with contrasting rainfall pattern, was conducted in the International Center for Agriculture
Research in the Dry Areas’s research field in Morocco to evaluate the tillage × genotype interaction
and its consequence for yield performance of barley, chickpea, lentil, and wheat. Thirteen elite genotypes
for each crop were planted under both CA and CT systems. Wheat and chickpea produced significantly
higher grain yield (62% for wheat and 43% for chickpea) under CA than in CT, while lentil and barley
performed equally under both systems. Significant effect of tillage × genotype was more frequent for
chickpea and wheat than for barley and lentil. Increased yield under CA, mainly in dry year, was associated
with higher harvest index (HI). For each crop species yield was mainly influenced by rainfall amount and
distribution (75–88% yield variation), and tillage × genotype was of little importance. The overall results
suggest that a specific breeding program for CA in lentil, chickpea, wheat, and barley may not be efficient.
Few tillage × genotype interaction, especially in dry years, indicated that breeding target on increasing HI,
tolerance to drought (high yield in dry years), and potential yield (high yield in wet year) can help to
improve yield performance of chickpea, lentil, and wheat genotypes in CA system. Varieties with wider
adaptability considering drought tolerance, higher yield with stability, and adoption of CA practices are
important in the context of the Mediterranean rainfed environment. Integrating trade-off analysis between yield potential and stability in a rainfall gradient in both CT and CA in the national certification scheme of varieties may be more efficient than developing breeding programs for each type of tillage system.

Citation:
Mina Devkota Wasti, Somanagouda Patil, Shiv Kumar Agrawal, Jacques Wery. (14/6/2021). Performance of elite genotypes of barley, chickpea, lentil, and wheat under conservation agriculture in Mediterranean rainfed conditions. Experimental Agriculture, 57 (2), pp. 126-143.
Keywords:
mediterranean
yield stability
rainfed drylands
tillage × genotype interaction
rainfall
conservation agriculture