Skip to main content

Stem and root characteristics associated with lodging resistance in four winter wheat cultivars

  • M. J. Crook (a1) and A. R. Ennos (a1)

The effects of root and shoot characteristics on the lodging resistance of four cultivars of winter wheat were investigated by combining results from a field trial (set up at Manchester University's Experimental Grounds, Jodrell Bank, in mid-September 1991) with morphological and mechanical measurements on their stems and anchorage systems. Cultivars showed contrasting lodging resistance: Widgeon was most susceptible, followed by Galahad, Riband and Hereward which, alone, did not lodge. Lodging resistance was not related to the strength and stiffness of the stems, which were usually adequate to withstand the forces to which they were subjected. Most plants instead failed in their root system which rotated through the soil. Resistance was associated with short and light stems (and hence on the force applied to the plants by wind and gravity) and with high values of the anchorage strength of the root system (and hence on the force resisting lodging). Lodging occurred during grain filling when the ears were heaviest and when the soil was wet. The anchorage strength of a plant depended on two characteristics of the root system: the bending strength and the angle of spread of the basal coronal roots. Plants with stronger, more widely spread coronal roots produced larger soil cones during anchorage failure and resisted larger forces. Future breeding for lodging resistance, therefore, should continue to select for plants with shorter stems and with stiffer, more widely spread, coronal roots.

Hide All
Alexander, R. McN. (1981). Factors of safety in the structure of animals. Science Progress, Oxford 67, 109130.
Barraclough, P. B. & Leigh, R. A. (1984). The growth and activity of winter wheat roots in the field: the effect of sowing date and soil type on root growth of high-yielding crops. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 103, 5974.
Coutts, M. P. (1983). Development of the structural root system of Sitka Spruce. Forestry 56, 116.
Crook, M. J. & Ennos, A. R. (1993). The mechanics of root lodging in winter wheat, Triticum aestivum L. Journal of Experimental Botany 44 (Supplement), 50 (Abstract A 11.4).
Donald, C. M. (1968). The design of the wheat ideotype. In Third International Wheat Genetics Symposium, Canberra (Eds Finley, K. W. & Shepherd, K. W.), pp. 377387. Sydney: Butterworths.
Easson, D. L., White, E. M. & Pickles, S. S. (1991). A study of lodging in cereals. HGCA Project Report 52, 75.
Ennos, A. R. (1989). The mechanics of anchorage in seedlings of sunflower, Helianthus annuus L. New Phytologist 113, 185192.
Ennos, A. R. (1991). The mechanics of anchorage in wheat Triticum aestivum L. II. Anchorage of mature wheat against lodging. Journal of Experimental Botany 42, 16071613.
Graham, J. (1983). Crop lodging in British wheats and barleys. PhD thesis, University of Reading.
Neenan, M. & Spencer-Smith, J. L. (1975). An analysis of the problem of lodging with particular reference to wheat and barley. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 85, 495507.
Percival, J. (1921). The Wheat Plant: A Monograph. London: Duckworth & Company.
Pinthus, M. J. (1973). Lodging in wheat, barley, and oats: the phenomenon, its causes, and preventative measures. Advances in Agronomy 25, 209263.
Spatz, H. C., Speck, T. & Vogellehner, D. (1990). Contributions to the biomechanics of plants. II. Stability against local buckling in hollow plant stems. Botanica Acta 103, 123130.
Troughton, A. (1962). The Roots of Temperate Cereals (Wheat, Barley, Oats and Rye). Farnham Royal: Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux.
Wainwright, S. A., Biggs, W. D., Currey, J. D. & Gosline, J. M. (1976). Mechanical Design in Organisms. London: Edward Arnold.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Agricultural Science
  • ISSN: 0021-8596
  • EISSN: 1469-5146
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-agricultural-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed