Date of ear emergence: a factor for notable changing the grain yield of modern winter wheat varieties in different environments of Bulgaria

N. Tsenov1*, T. Gubatov1, I. Yanchev2

1 Department of Wheat Breeding and Technology, Agronom Breeding Company, 9300 Dobrich, Bulgaria
2 Department of Plant Science, Faculty of Agronomy, Agricultural University, 4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria

(Manuscript received 2 November 2020; accepted for publication 15 January 2020)

Abstract. Wheat is a crop with a very long growing season, during which it is subjected to prolonged exposure to many environmental factors. For this reason, the interaction of genotype with conditions is very common for any character of wheat. This study aims to determine whether the grain yield is affected by the change of the ear emergence date (EED) in various environments. In a four-year period, 30 current for national real grain production winter wheat varieties were studied. The EED and grain yield (GY) were studied as quantitative traits within five locations of the country having various soil and climatic conditions. Using several statistical programs, genotype x environment interaction of two traits was analyzed. The emphasis on data analysis was whether changes of traits due to the conditions were related and that the optimization of the ear emergence date could serve as a breeding tool for increasing grain yield. The date of ear emergence and grain yield are traits that are reliably influenced by growing conditions. The change in the date of emergence is mainly of the linear type, while the grain yield shows linear and nonlinear type changes in the same environmental conditions. It was found that the key roles in the change of characteristics are the conditions of the year, with the relatively weakest impact of the genotype on them. There is a positive relationship between the two traits, although their change depends on environmental factors. Although they change to different degrees and in relation to each other, there is a positive correlation between them. The more favorable the environmental conditions, the weaker the relationship between these two traits and vice versa. Under changing climatic conditions, the change in the relationship between the two traits is a signal of the need to create different varieties by date of ear emergence in order to obtain higher yields in the future.