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Monitoring and Predicting Agricultural DroughtA Global Study$
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Vijendra K. Boken, Arthur P. Cracknell, and Ronald L. Heathcote

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195162349

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195162349.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 December 2021

Drought-Related Characteristics of Important Cereal Crops

Drought-Related Characteristics of Important Cereal Crops

Chapter Two (p.11) Drought-Related Characteristics of Important Cereal Crops
Monitoring and Predicting Agricultural Drought

Keith T. Ingram

Oxford University Press

Humans cultivate more than 200 species of plants, but this chapter reviews responses of 5 important cereal crops to drought. These crops are maize (Zea mays L.), rice (Oryza sativa L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum and Triticum turgidum L. var. durum), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor [L.] Moench), and pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum [L.] R. Br), which provide the majority of food in the world. In general, farmers cultivate millet in the most drought-prone environments and sorghum where a short growing season is the greatest constraint to production. Some sorghum cultivars set grain in as short as 50–60 days (Roncoli et al., 2001). Rice is grown under a wide range of environments, from tropical to temperate zones, from deep water-flooded zones to nonflooded uplands. Rice productivity is limited mostly by water (IRRI, 2002). Drought limits, to a varying extent, the productivity of all of these crops. Although water is likely the most important manageable limit to food production worldwide, we should recognize that water management cannot be isolated from nutrient, crop, and pest management. Life on earth depends on green plants, which capture solar energy and store chemical energy by the process of photosynthesis. Although plants use a small amount of water in the reactions of photosynthesis and retain small amounts of water in plant tissues, as much as 99% of the water that plants take up is lost through transpiration (i.e., gaseous water transport through the stomata of leaves). Stomata, which are small pores on leaf surfaces, must open to allow carbon dioxide to enter leaf tissues for photosynthesis and plant growth, but open stomata also allow water to escape. In addition to transpiration, there are several other avenues of water loss from a crop system. Water may exit the crop system by evaporation from the soil, transpiration of weeds, deep drainage beyond the root zone, lateral flow beneath the soil surface, or runoff. We can sum the daily additions and losses of water to form a water balance equation: . . . S = G + P + I − E − T − Tw − D − L − R [2.1] . . .

Keywords:   Germination, water deficit effects, Mycotoxins, maize, Water balance equation

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