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Open AccessArticle

High Soybean Yield and Drought Adaptation Being Associated with Canopy Architecture, Water Uptake, and Root Traits

by Xiu-Bing Gao 1,2, Can Guo 2, Feng-Min Li 3, Ming Li 1,* and Jin He 1,4,*
1
The Provincial Key Laboratory for Agricultural Pest Management in Mountainous Region, Institute of Crop Protection, College of Agriculture, Guizhou University, Guiyang 550025, China
2
Guizhou Tea Research Institute, Guizhou Province Academy of Agricultural Science, Guiyang 550006, China
3
State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-ecosystems, Institute of Arid Agroecology, School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
4
The Key Laboratory of Plant Resource Conservation and Germplasm Innovation in Mountainous Region (Ministry of Education)College of Agriculture, Guizhou University, Guiyang 550025, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 608; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040608
Received: 16 March 2020 / Revised: 14 April 2020 / Accepted: 21 April 2020 / Published: 24 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drought Resistance Mechanisms in Crops)
Water stress is the main abiotic factor that limits soybean grain yield. We investigated eight soybean cultivars under well-watered (WW) and terminal drought stress (TDS) conditions to determine the traits associated with water saving and the relationship between water use, root morphology, canopy architecture, flower and tagged-pod number, and yield performance. Under WW conditions, the average grain yield across the new soybean cultivars was significantly higher (18.7 g plant−1 vs. 15.1 g plant−1), but significantly less water was used (36 L plant−1 vs. 47 L plant−1) than in the old soybean cultivars. Under TDS, the four old soybean cultivars failed to produce a measurable grain yield, while the new soybean cultivars Zhonghuang 30 (ZH) and Jindou 19 (J19) produced a measurable grain yield. Water stress significantly reduced the flower numbers and tagged-pod numbers; the four new soybean cultivars on average had low flower and tagged-pod numbers under WW treatment, while they had low flower but high tagged-pod numbers under TDS conditions. ZH and JD exhibited a lower branch number and leaf area under both WW and TDS conditions. Water use during the flowering and podding periods was significantly positively correlated with the flower number and the tagged-pod number under both WW and TDS conditions. Thus, the small canopy size and low root length and root surface area contributed to a water-saving mechanism in the new soybean cultivars and improved the yield under drought conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: water use; terminal drought; flower number; water-saving mechanism water use; terminal drought; flower number; water-saving mechanism
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gao, X.-B.; Guo, C.; Li, F.-M.; Li, M.; He, J. High Soybean Yield and Drought Adaptation Being Associated with Canopy Architecture, Water Uptake, and Root Traits. Agronomy 2020, 10, 608.

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