Comparisons of crop yields over long periods are difficult to carry out and hence rarely done. Roger Austin in the 1980s at the Plant Breeding Institute in an impressive paper of 1980 (rightly cited no less than 562 times, surely a record for J agric. Sci. Camb.) showed the increase in yield potential of UK wheats in a comparison of 12 varieties released between 1908 and the mid 1970s. Obviously things have advanced a lot in wheat cultivars, yield, and reduced input requirement, since then, although the results remain valid.
A new paper from Amahah Batool, Ijaz Rasool Nooka (currently a Visiting Research Fellow in the Molecular Cytogenetics Lab. at Leicester), M Afzal and AH Syed measures not only yields in 12 pre- and post- green revolution wheats in Pakistan, but also the performance of new hybrids. There are remarkable differences in heterosis. The paper suggests, some characters (genes) from the older varieties may not be represented in modern germplasm, and these varieties may include useful agronomic characters for low-input and rain-fed conditions.
Estimation of Heterosis, Heterobeltiosis and Potence Ratio Over Environments Among Pre and Post Green Revolution Spring wheat
in Pakistan Amarah Batool et al.
“Abstract: Globally wheat trade has a major and impacting role in political and economic relationships between nations. Twelve pre-green revolution and post green revolution wheat genotypes viz., Sehr-06, Pasban-90, C-273, Pari-73, SA-42, Fsd-08, Chenab-70, Blue Silver, Lasani-08, Pak-81, Uqab-2000, and Pothowar-73 and their direct and reciprocal crosses were evaluated. The study concluded significant differences and highest values in heterosis, heterobeltiosis and potence ratio were found among genotypes and their cross combinations for pollen viability (Sehr-06 Blue Silver), flag leaf area (SA-42 Fsd-08), number of grains per spike (Pak-81 Lasani-08) and grain yield plant-1(Chenab-70 Fsd-08). Under changing climatic condition and limited water provision an amalgamation of pre-green revolution and post green revolution may provide a genetic diversity to break the stagnant yield barrier to ensure food security.”