Yield components as indicators of drought tolerance of sugarcane

Componentes de produção como indicadores de tolerância à seca em cana-de-açúcar

Water deficit is one of the major factors limiting the production of sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.). A study of the effects of limited water condition on yield components and their relationship with productivity can aid breeding programs in selecting for high yielding genotypes under this condition. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationships among the parameters stalk number, stalk height, stalk diameter, and stalk weight with cane yield in sugarcane growing in a field under moderate water stress during its grand growth period, in order to provide information to help breeders in adopting traits for selecting drought tolerant varieties. Seventy-eight genotypes plus two controls, one drought-tolerant and one drought-susceptible, were grown under a moderate water deficit condition in the field in 2005/2006 at Weslaco, TX. Productivity and yield components were measured. Under stress, the tolerant control (TCP93-4245) showed higher productivity, stalk number, stalk height and stalk weight than the susceptible one (TCP87-3388). However, the susceptible control showed higher stalk diameter. Linear association was found between productivity and its yield components, but stalk diameter showed to be fairly unstable among genotypes. Stalk height showed significant correlation with stalk number, stalk diameter and stalk weight. Stalk diameter also showed positive correlation with stalk weight. Therefore, during the selection procedure, when one of these traits is enhanced by drought tolerance, the correlated trait should also increase, making it feasible to select genotypes with high productivity, stalk number, stalk height, and stalk weight under water deficit.

Saccharum spp.; biometric attributes; productivity; water stress; genotypes

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