Predicting spring wheat yields based on water use-yield production function in a semi-arid climate
Grain yield of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) fluctuates greatly in Western Loess Plateau of China due to limited and highly variable precipitation. Farmers in this area need a simple tool to predict spring wheat grain yield and assess yield loss risk efficiently. The objectives of this study were to establish relations between water use and grain yield of spring wheat for predicting actual yield and attainable yield (water limited yield) under conventional management practice and mulching practices. Reference data during 1993-2013 and field experiment conducted from 1987 to 2011 were used to determine water use-yield production function and boundary function for spring wheat. Probability of achieving a given spring wheat grain yield threshold is determined based on available soil water content at sowing plus expected precipitation during growing season. Single linear equation was obtained with slope of 14.6 kg ha-1 mm-1 and x intercept at 126.3 mm for spring wheat water use-yield production function with different wheat varieties under varying climatic patterns. The slopes of the boundary function were 16.2 kg ha-1 mm-1 and 19.1 kg ha-1 mm-1 under conventional management practice and mulching practices, respectively. With increase of available soil water content at sowing, the probability of achieving at least 2000 and 4000 kg ha-1 of spring wheat for actual and attainable yield increased under different agricultural management practices.
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