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A simple method to estimate harvest index in grain crops

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Several methods have been proposed to simulate yield in crop simulation models. In this work, we present a simple method to estimate harvest index (HI) of grain crops based on fractional post-anthesis phase growth (fG = fraction of biomass accumulation that occurred in the post-anthesis phase). We propose that HI increases in a linear or curvilinear fashion in response to fG. The linear model has two parameters, the intercept (HIo) and the slope (s). The curvilinear model was assumed to be monotonic: HI = HIx - (HIx - HIo) · exp(-k·fG); where HIx is the asymptote, HIo is the intercept and k is a constant modulating the rate of HI increase. The models were tested for barley (Pullman, WA and Uruguay), wheat (Pullman, WA) and sorghum (Australia). A positive relationship between HI and fG was in general evident. For barley, the linear model appropriately represented the response of HI to fG, with both HIo and s in the vicinity of 0.3. For wheat HIo and s were 0.34 and 0.21, respectively, but the curvilinear model yielded a slightly better fitting than the linear model. For sorghum, both linear and linear-plateau models fitted data reasonably well. It is shown that the models work well in crops source-limited or source-sink co-limited during grain filling, but in sink-limited conditions the magnitude of the limitation needs to be characterized to compute HI. A major advantage of this method is that the parameters of the linear or curvilinear model are readily calibrated from yield data and biomass measurements at anthesis and harvest.
Kemanian, A.R. , Stöckle, C.O. , Huggins, D.R. , Viega, L.M.
Includes references
Field crops research 2007 Sept. 13, v. 103, issue 3
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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