Mitigating the effects of drought stress in wheat through potassium application
Shabbir Hussain, Muhammad Tahir, Asif Tanveer, Rashid Ahmad
Wheat is a vital cereal crop that is cultivated under different climatic conditions and provides stable diet for millions of people in the world. To study the dual effect of drought stress and potassium levels in wheat a field experiment was conducted during winter 2015 at Agronomy Research Farm, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. For this purpose, five drought regimes including No drought (D1), drought at tillering (D2), booting (D3), flowering (D4) and grain formation (D5) stages and three potassium levels (60 : 90 : 120 kg ha-1) were used. The experiment was laid out in randomized complete block design with split plot arrangement and repeated three times. Drought stress had drastic effect on yield and quality attributes when it occurred during critical growth stages in wheat crop, however, potassium application significantly improved the efficacy of these attributes by reducing the deleterious effects of drought. The maximum plant height (103 cm), number of productive tillers (291); number of spikelets per spike (18), number of grains per spike (52), 1000 grain weight (42.29), grain yield (5439 kg ha-1), biological yield (9909 kg ha-1), grain protein (12.90 %) and potassium content (0.714 %) were obtained through potassium application under normal as well as it was also improved performance of all these parameters under stress environment. According to conclusion the application of potassium sulphate in higher amounts effectively increased the efficiency of crop plants to cope with water shortage conditions and enhanced their abilities to execute well to give better yield.