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Potential use of spectral reflectance indices as a selection tool for grain yield in winter wheat under Great Plains conditions

Prasad, B.
Carver, B. F.
Stone, M. L.
Babar, M. A.
Raun, W. R.
Klatt, A. R.

Selection criteria that would facilitate increased genetic gain for grain yield would be considered advantageous in plant breeding programs. We evaluated the potential of spectral reflectance indices (SRI) for assessing grain yield variability in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) genotypes under Great Plains conditions. One experiment was conducted at two locations on the Oklahoma State University research farms for 1 yr, and two experiments were conducted for 2 yr at a single location. The first experiment included 25 winter wheat cultivars from the Great Plains, and the other two experiments contained two groups of 25 F4:6 and F4:7 recombinant inbred lines. Six reported SRI (red and green normalized difference vegetation index, RNDVI, GNDVI; simple ratio, SR; water index, WI; normalized water indices 1 and 2, NWI-1 and NWI-2), and two new normalized water indices (NWI-3 and NWI-4) were calculated at booting, heading, and early grain-filling stages using a FieldSpec UV/VNIR spectroradiometer. Significant genotypic variation was observed for SRI and growth stages, though the booting stage was least associated with grain yield. The relationships of grain yield with WI and NWI were stronger than with the RNDVI and SR. The WI and the NWI performed better in identifying superior genotypes, either at any individual growth stage or in a combination of growth stages. Our study clearly demonstrated the potential of using SRI as a selection tool for grain yield in a winter wheat breeding program.