Tillering and yield formation of a temperate Japonica rice cultivar in a Mediterranean rice agrosystem

  • Maite Martinez-Eixarch IRTA, Field Crops Program. Ctra. Balada Km.1, 43870 Amposta
  • M. del Mar Català IRTA, Field Crops Program. Ctra. Balada Km.1, 43870 Amposta
  • Núria Tomàs IRTA, Field Crops Program. Ctra. Balada Km.1, 43870 Amposta
  • Eva Pla IRTA, Field Crops Program. Ctra. Balada Km.1, 43870 Amposta
  • Defeng Zhu China National Rice Research Institute, Research and Development Centre of Rice Production Technology, 310006 Hangzhou
Keywords: Oryza sativa L., tillering dynamics, tiller order, yield formation, emergence, fertility, curve fitting, synchrony


Rice tillering is a crucial stage for yield formation. Deep understanding of the relationship between tillering dynamics and yield formation in a particular agrosystem is crucial to boost rice productivity. Research on rice tillering is mainly focused on tropical agrosystems whereas less is done in the Mediterranean, with direct water-seeding and Japonica cultivars. This study aims at characterizing tillering dynamics and identifying the main explanatory tillering traits of yield in a Mediterranean rice agrosystem, Ebro Delta (Northern Spain). A temperate Japonica cultivar grown in Spain, Gleva, was utilized. Plants and tillers were tagged to assess emergence and fertility ratios and grain yield; while changes in tillering number over time, yield and yield components for unit area were measured. Plant and tillering dynamics in the Ebro Delta rice fields can be accurately predicted through equations herein provided, which are based either on thermal time or leaf development. Plants grown under regional standard agricultural practices produced up to eight primary tillers of which two or three become productive. Maximum tiller number was the main explanatory variable of yield while high-yielding tillers within a plant are located on nodes with the highest emergence ratios and, after the main stem, they are the major contributors to yield. The decisive role of tiller development on yield along with the predictability of tiller dynamics raises options to optimize grain yield through tillering modulation. In this sense, results from this study suggests the promotion of early tillering followed by inhibition of late tillering as a strategy of tillering regulation.


Download data is not yet available.


Agrama HA, Yan W, Jia M, Fjellstrom RMcClung AM, 2010. Genetic structure associated with diversity and geographic distribution in the USDA rice world collection. Nat Sci 2(4): 247-291. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ns.2010.24036

Alam MM, Hasanuzzaman M, Nahar K, 2009. Tiller dynamics of three irrigated rice varieties under varying phosphorus levels. Am Euras J Agron 2(2): 89-94.

Aldo F, 2007. Rice scenario in the European Union. Cahiers Agricultures 16(4): 272-277.

Awan TH, Mushtaq A, Inayat A, Muhammad A, Zaheen M, 2007. Contribution of tillers within a rice plant to yield and yield components. J Agric Res 45(3): 237-243.

Bueno CS, Lafarge T, 2009. Higher crop performance of rice hybrids than of elite inbreds in the tropics: 1. Hybrids accumulate more biomass during each phenological phase. Field Crop Res 112(2-3): 229-237. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2009.03.006

Bueno CS, Pasuquin E, Tubaña B, Lafarge T, 2010. Improving sink regulation, and searching for promising traits associated with hybrids, as a key avenue to increase yield potential of the rice crop in the tropics. Field Crop Res 118(3): 199-207. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2010.04.004

Cannell RQ, 1969. Tillering pattern in barley varieties. I. Production survival and contribution to yield by component tillers. J Agric Res 72: 405-422. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0021859600024837

Caton BP, Foin TC, Gibson KD, Hill JE, 1998. A temperature-based model of direct-, water-seeded rice (Oryza sativa) stand establishment in California. Agr Forest Meteorol 90(12): 91-102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0168-1923(97)00088-9

Counce PA, Siebenmorgen TJ, Poag MA, Holloway GE, Kocher M, FLu R, 1996. Panicle emergence of tiller types and grain yield of tiller order for direct-seeded rice cultivars. Field Crop Res 47(2-3): 235-242. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0378-4290(96)00011-1

DeDatta SK, 1981. Principles and practices of rice production. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York. 618 pp.

Dingkuhn M, De Datta SK, Javellana C, Pamplona R, Schnier HF, 1992. Effect of late-season fertilization on photosynthesis and yield of transplanted and direct-seeded tropical flooded rice. I. Growth dynamics. Field Crop Res 28(3): 223-234. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0378-4290(92)90042-8

Drenth H, ten Berge H FM, Riethoven JJM, 1994. ORYZA simulation modules for potential and nitrogen limited rice production. SARP Research Proceedings. DLO-Research Institute for Agrobiology and Soil Fertility, IRRI. 228 pp.

Elhani S, Martos V, Rharrabti Y, Royo C, García del Moral LF, 2007. Contribution of main stem and tillers to durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var. Durum) grain yield and its components grown in mediterranean environments. Field Crop Res 103(1): 25-35. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2007.05.008

Evers JB, Vos J, Fournier C, Andrieu B, Chelle M, Struik PC, 2007. An architectural model of spring wheat: Evaluation of the effects of population density and shading on model parameterization and performance. Ecol Model 200(3-4): 308-320. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2006.07.042

Gendua PA, Yamamoto Y, Miyazaki A, Yoshida TWang YL, 2009. Effects of the tillering nodes on the main stem of a chinese large-panicle-type rice cultivar, Yangdao 4, on the growth and yield-related characteristics in relation to cropping season. Plant Prod Sci 12(2): 257-266. http://dx.doi.org/10.1626/pps.12.257

Hammer GL, Hill K, Schrodter GN, 1987. Leaf area production and senescence of diverse grain sorghum hybrids. Field Crop Res 17(3-4): 305-317. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0378-4290(87)90042-6

Haun JR, 1973. Visual quantification of wheat development. Agron J 65: 116-119. http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/agronj1973.00021962006500010035x

Jaffuel S, Dauzat J, 2005. Synchronism of leaf and tiller emergence relative to position and to main stem development stage in a rice cultivar. Ann Bot 95(3): 401-412. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mci043

Kariali E, Kuanar SR, Mohapatra PK, 2008. Individual tiller dynamics of two wild oryza species in contrasting habitats. Plant Prod Sci 11(3): 355-360. http://dx.doi.org/10.1626/pps.11.355

Kim JK,Vergara BS, 1990. Tillering behavior of low and hihg tillering rices. Korean J Crop Sci 35(6): 512-517.

Kirby EJM, Margaret A, Gynneth F, 1985. Leaf emergence and tillering in barley and wheat. Agronomie 5(3): 193-200. http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/agro:19850301

Lafarge M, 2000. Phenotypes and the onset of competition in spring barley stands of one genotype: Daylength and density effects on tillering. Eur J Agron 12(3-4): 211-223. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1161-0301(00)00047-2

Lafarge TA, Hammer GL, 2002a. Tillering in grain sorghum over a wide range of population densities: Modelling dynamics of tiller fertility. Ann Bot 90(1): 99-110. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcf153

Lafarge TA, Hammer GL, 2002b. Predicting plant leaf area production: Shoot assimilate accumulation and partitioning, and leaf area ratio, are stable for a wide range of sorghum population densities. Field Crop Res 77(2-3): 137-151. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0378-4290(02)00085-0

Lafarge T, Bueno CS, 2009. Higher crop performance of rice hybrids than of elite inbreds in the tropics: 2. Does sink regulation, rather than sink size, play a major role? Field Crop Res 112(2-3): 238-244. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2009.03.007

Lafarge M, Broad IJ, Hammer GL, 2002. Tillering in grain sorghum over a wide range of population densities: Identification of a common hierarchy for tiller emergence, leaf area development and fertility. Ann Bot 90(1): 87-98. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcf152

Martínez-Eixarch M, Zhu D, Català-Forner MM, Pla-Mayor E, Tomàs-Navarro N, 2013. Water, nitrogen and plant density affect the response of leaf appearance of direct seeded rice to thermal time. Rice Science 20(1): 52-60. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1672-6308(13)60108-0

Matsuo T, Hoshikawa K (eds), 1993. Science of rice plant. Food and Agriculture Policy Research Center, Tokyo. 686 pp.

McMaster GS, Wilhelm WW, Palic DB, Porter JR, Jamieson PD, 2003. Spring wheat leaf appearance and temperature: Extending the paradigm? Ann Bot 91: 697-705. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcg074

Metho LA, Hammes PS, Beyers EA, 1998. The effect of soil fertility on the contribution of main stem, tillers and kernel position to grain yield and grain protein content of wheat. S Afr J Plant Soil 15(2): 53-60. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02571862.1998.10635117

Mi X, Zou Y, Wei W, Ma K, 2005. Testing the generalization of artificial neural networks with cross-validation and independent-validation in modelling rice tillering dynamics. Ecol Model 181: 493-508. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2004.06.035

Miller BC, Hill JE, Roberts SR, 1991. Plant population effects on growth and yield in water-seeded rice. Agron J 83(2): 291-297. http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/agronj1991.00021962008300020006x

Mohapatra PK, Kariali E, 2008. Time of emergence determines the pattern of dominance of rice tillers. Aust J Crop Sci 1(2): 53-62.

Mohapatra PK, Panda BB, Kariali E, 2011. Plasticity of tiller dynamics in wild rice Oryza rufipogon Griff.: A strategy for resilience in suboptimal environments. Int J Agron 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/543237

Nemoto K, Morita S, Baba T, 1995. Shoot and root development in rice related to the phyllochron. Crop Sci 35(1): 24-29. http://dx.doi.org/10.2135/cropsci1995.0011183X003500010005x

Ohe M, Okita N, Daimon H, 2010. Effects of deep-flooding irrigation on growth, canopy structure and panicle weight yield under different planting patterns in rice. Plant Prod Sci 13(2): 193-198. http://dx.doi.org/10.1626/pps.13.193

Otteson BN, Mergoum M, Ransom JK, Schatz B, 2008. Tiller contribution to spring wheat yield under varying seeding and nitrogen management. Agron J 100(2): 406-413. http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/agrojnl2007.0109

Ottis BV, Talbert RE, 2005. Rice yield components as affected by cultivar and seeding rate. Agron J 97(6): 1622-1625. http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/agronj2005.0123

Peng S, Yang J, Garcia FV, Laza RC, Visperas RM, Sanico AL, Chavez AQ, Virmani SS, 1998. Physiology-based crop management for yield maximization of hybrid rice. In: Advances in hybrid rice technology. Proc 3rd Int Symp on Hybrid Rice, 14-16 November 1996, Hyderabad, India. pp: 157-176.

Penning de Vries FWT, Jansen D, ten Berge HFM, Bakema A, 1989. Simulation of ecophysiological processes of growth in several annual crops. Centre for Agricultural Publishing and Documentation (Pudoc), Wageningen.

Pham Quang D, Tanaka D, Abe A, Sagawa S, Kuroda E, 2004. Analysis of the number of spikelets per panicle on the main stems, primary and secondary tillers of different rice genotypes grown under the conventional and nitrogen-free basal dressing accompanied with sparse planting density practices. Plant Prod Sci 7(4): 456-462. http://dx.doi.org/10.1626/pps.7.456

Piepho HP, Büchse A, Richter C, 2004. A mixed modelling approach for randomized experiments with repeated measures. J Agron Crop Sci 190: 230-247. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-037X.2004.00097.x

Samonte SOPB, Wilson LT, Tabien RE, 2006. Maximum node production rate and main culm node number contributions to yield and yield-related traits in rice. Field Crop Res 96(2-3): 313-319. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2005.07.014

Sasaki R, Toriyama K, 2006. Nitrogen content of leaves affects the nodal position of the last visible primary tiller on main stems of rice plants grown at various plant densities. Plant Prod Sci 9(3): 242-248. http://dx.doi.org/10.1626/pps.9.242

Sasaki R, Shibata Y, Toriyama K, 2002a. Effect of unevenness in a paddy field on the early growth and tillering in direct seeding cultivation of rice. Jpn J Crop Sci 71(3): 308-316. [in Japanese, abstract in English]. http://dx.doi.org/10.1626/jcs.71.308

Sasaki Y, Ando H, Kakuda K, 2002b. Relationship between ammonium nitrogen in soil solution and tiller number at early growth stage of rice. J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 48 (1): 57-63. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00380768.2002.10409171

Sasaki R, Toriyama K, Shibata Y, Sugimoto M, 2004. Effect of the suppression of tiller emergence on the relationship between seedling density and nodal position of the last visible primary tiller in direct seeding cultivation of rice. Jpn J Crop Sci 73(3): 309-314. [in Japanese, abstract in English]. http://dx.doi.org/10.1626/jcs.73.309

Shu AP, Hwan KJ, Zhang SY, Cao GL, Nan ZH, Seong LK, Lu QH, 2009. Analysis on genetic similarity of Japonica rice variety from different origins of geography in the world. Agric Sci Chin 8(5): 513-520. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1671-2927(08)60241-2

Takaya Y, Kyuma K, Kawaguchi K, 1974. Rice cultivation and its environmental conditions in the mediterranean countries I. Climate and physiography in relation to rice cultivation. J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 20: 209-223. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00380768.1974.10433244

Thakur AK, Rath S, Roychowdhury S, Uphoff N, 2009. Comparative performance of rice with system of rice intensification (SRI) and conventional management using different plant spacings. J Agron Crop Sci 196(2): 146-159. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-037X.2009.00406.x

Wu G, Wilson LT, McClung AM, 1998. Contribution of rice tillers to dry matter accumulation and yield. Agron J 90(3): 317-323. http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/agronj1998.00021962009000030001x

Yan J, Yu J, Tao GC, Vos J, Bouman BAM, Xie GH, Meinke H, 2009. Yield formation and tillering dynamics of direct-seeded rice in flooded and nonflooded soils in the Huai River Basin of China. Field Crop Res 116(3): 252-259. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2010.01.002

Yin XY, Kropff MJ, 1996. The effect of temperature on leaf appearance in rice. Ann Bot 77(3): 215-221. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/anbo.1996.0025

Yoshida S, 1981. Fundamentals of rice crop science The IRRI, Los Baños.

Zhong X, Peng S, Sheehy J, Liu H, Visperas RM, 1999. Parameterization, validation and comparison of three tillering models for irrigated rice in the tropics. Plant Prod Sci 2: 258-266. http://dx.doi.org/10.1626/pps.2.258

Zhong X, Peng S, Sheehy JE, Visperas RM, Liu H, 2002. Relationship between tillering and leaf area index: Quantifying critical leaf area index for tillering in rice. J Agr Sci 138: 269-279. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0021859601001903

How to Cite
Martinez-EixarchM., CatalàM. del M., TomàsN., PlaE., & ZhuD. (2015). Tillering and yield formation of a temperate Japonica rice cultivar in a Mediterranean rice agrosystem. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 13(4), e0905. https://doi.org/10.5424/sjar/2015134-7085
Plant production (Field and horticultural crops)