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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Identify Critical Factors in Drought Vulnerability of Wheat and Maize

June 1, 2016

A team of researchers from the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis led by Lixin Wang has identified critical information about the environmental variables and agronomic factors that determine the vulnerability of maize and wheat production to drought.

The researchers collected data from peer-reviewed publications dated between 1980 and 2015 that examined maize and wheat yield responses to drought. The meta-analysis of all available data shows that maize and wheat have a significantly different yield response to drought.

According to the study, wheat has a lower yield reduction, 20.6%, compared to 39.3% for maize at approximately 40% water reduction. Wang said that maize tends to experience greater yield loss due to drought, partly because maize is from the wet region. The researchers also noted that wheat has lower sensitivity than maize during its vegetative and reproductive phases.

The study also found that maize is equally sensitive to drought in dryland and non-dryland regions. While no yield difference was observed among regions or in different soil texture, it was found that wheat cultivation in dryland regions is more prone to yield loss than in the non-dryland regions.

For more information, read the news release at the IUPUI Newsroom.