Tolerance of wheat to soil sodicity can be better detected through an incremental crop tolerance approach and ascertained through multiple sowing times

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wheat; sodicity tolerance; sodic soil; incremental crop tolerance; tolerance indices; sodicity stress; yield potential


Agricultural Science | Agriculture | Agronomy and Crop Sciences | Plant Breeding and Genetics


Soil sodicity is a significant crop production constraint around the world. Inherited tolerance is a precursor to pre-breeding and breeding tolerant cultivars. However, high yield per se and seasonal variability are potential limitations to identify real tolerance rather than escape correctly. To minimise this risk, we generated yield, yield components and supporting data at two times of sowing (TOS) of 15 lines representing four quadrants of a biplot from a sodic- vs. non-sodic yield dataset of 112 wheat lines trialled in the previous year. Data from sodic and non-sodic sites were investigated using three analytical approaches namely, simple ratio of yield (REI), ratio of genotypic effects (TI) after excluding site effects, and the incremental crop tolerance (ICT) reflected as deviation from regression. REI and TI produced similar results showing ninelines to be tolerant, but only four lines namely, Scepter, Condo, WA345, and WA134 passed the ICT test. The tolerance comparison at the two TOSs differentiated lines tolerant at either or both TOSs. Association of Yield-ICT with leaf tissue mineral analysis and ICT for morphological traits was genotype specific, thus not usable invariably for detection of tolerant germplasm. Hence, we conclude that (i) focussing on yield rather than yield components or tissue tests, (ii) following the ICT approach, and (iii) evaluation at multiple sowing times will provide an accurate and rigorous test for identifying inherited tolerance that breeders and physiologists can reliably use. We anticipate our suggested approach to be applicable globally across crops.