In this study, the performance of three different statured wheat cultivars viz. Faisalabad-2008 (standard height and low tillering, SHLT), Td-1 (low height and high tillering, LHHT) and Galaxy-2013 (standard height and high tillering, SHHT) was evaluated under five different crop establishment methods including broadcasting, line sowing, no-till sowing, bed planting and ridge sowing. The experiment was conducted at the Post-graduate Agricultural Research Station, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan for two consecutive growing seasons of 2016–17 and 2017–18 in randomized complete block design with a split plot arrangement having three replications. The lowest time to 50% emergence (9.34 days), mean emergence time (10.18 days), highest productive tillers (316.9 m−2) and grain yield (4.11 t ha−1) were recorded in bed planted wheat. The grain yield of bed-planted wheat was 5–15% higher than other sowing methods. Among wheat cultivars, the highest net assimilation rate (4.75 g m−2 day−1), grain weight (38.65 g), grain yield (4.1 t ha−1) and mineral uptake (120.7 kg ha−1 nitrogen, 16.31 kg ha−1 phosphorus and 139.2 kg ha−1 potassium) were recorded in the cultivar Galaxy 2013 (SHHT). The interaction of cultivars and sowing indicated the cultivar Galaxy 2013 (SHHT) planted on beds produced the highest grain yield (4.55 t ha−1) and had the highest water productivity (1.99 kg m−3) whereas the lowest grain yield (3.10 t ha−1)from cultivar Td-1 (LHHT) planted on the ridges. The highest net benefits and benefit–cost ratio were noted from all sowing methods with the cultivar Galaxy 2013 (SHHT) except in the ridge sowing where cultivar FSD-2008 (SHLT) remained better for net benefits (418.6 $ ha−1) and benefit–cost ratio (1.50) than other statured wheat cultivars. The findings of this study indicated that optimization of plant stature to different tillage seedbeds may present a new opportunity for increasing their productivity.
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