Statistical analysis can estimate crop performance

January 7, 2011

Scientists at Rothamsted Research, United Kingdom, in collaboration with the International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Syria have developed a method of accounting for spatial trend in single crop field trials. Spatial trend refers to the variations in crop yield and other characteristics observed when repeating this single crop field trial.

Usually plant breeders will grow several replicate plots to assess the breed line in different environments and then compare the results to commercial or standard varieties of the crop. When resources or seed are scarce, breeders will grow only a single plot of a test line alongside a number of other standard varieties acting as check plots.

"The results have shown that adjustment for spatial trend within the trials is possible and gives improved accuracy on the estimates of line performance," says Sue Welham, one of the authors of the study.

A crop developed by Dr. Miloudi Nachit at ICARDA was used to illustrate spatial trend in this particular experimental design. The teams then used simulations to further demonstrate the dramatic increase in precision in estimating the performance of a line while adjusting for spatial trend. However, these measurements are not without their flaws.

According to Welham, "One drawback to the use of spatial adjustment is the possible subjectivity and difficulty in the choice of a model."

Explore further: To maximize biofuel potential, researchers look for sorghum's 'sweet spot'

More information:

Related Stories

Where is your soil water? Crop yield has the answer

July 1, 2008

Crop yield is highly dependent on soil plant-available water, the portion of soil water that can be taken up by plant roots. Quantitative determination of the maximum amount of plant-available water in soil using traditional ...

A little nitrogen can go a long way

September 3, 2008

With significant increases in the price of fertilizer and grain, site-specific management - especially in variable rate nitrogen application -- can have a significant impact on yield and profitability, as reported in the ...

Recommended for you

A better way to read the genome

October 9, 2015

UConn researchers have sequenced the RNA of the most complicated gene known in nature, using a hand-held sequencer no bigger than a cell phone.

Threat posed by 'pollen thief' bees uncovered

October 9, 2015

A new University of Stirling study has uncovered the secrets of 'pollen thief' bees - which take pollen from flowers but fail to act as effective pollinators - and the threat they pose to certain plant species.

Most EU nations seek to bar GM crops

October 4, 2015

Nineteen of the 28 EU member states have applied to keep genetically modified crops out of all or part of their territory, the bloc's executive arm said Sunday, the deadline for opting out of new European legislation on GM ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.