Growth and development of bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) in response to soil moisture: 1. Dry matter and yield

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The effect of drought on the growth and development of bambara groundnut(Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) was studied in controlled-environment glasshouses in the UK. There were three landraces (S19-3, DipC and UN from Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland, respectively) and two watering regimes; a control that was irrigated weekly to 90% field capacity and a drought treatment with no irrigation from 49 days after sowing (DAS) until final harvest (147 DAS). Bambara groundnut responded to drought by reducing the rate of leaf area expansion, final canopy size and total dry matter (TDM) during vegetative growth. Drought also caused significant reductions in pod dry matter (PDM), pod number, seed weight and harvest index (HI), leading to a decrease in final pod yield that was different between landraces. Across landraces, drought reduced mean pod yield from 298 g m−2 to 165 g m−2, representing 45% yield loss. Despite the reduction in all landraces, the mean pod yield across the droughted treatments that had received no water for almost 100 days indicated the resilience of the species to drought. The three landraces differed in their phenology; S19-3 exhibited a reduced phenology while UN maintained the longest life cycle. The different responses of the landraces reflect their adaptation to their local climates where mean annual rainfall ranges between 365 mm (Namibia) and 1390 mm (Swaziland). We discuss the significance of these results for future breeding programmes on bambara groundnut. Keywords: Bambara groundnut, Drought, Dry matter, Landrace, Water, Yield.

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European Journal of Agronomy

Item Type:
Journal Article

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