The improvement of crop yield in marginal environments using ‘on-farm’ seed priming: nodulation, nitrogen fixation, and disease resistance

Harris, D and Breese, W A and Rao, J V D K K (2005) The improvement of crop yield in marginal environments using ‘on-farm’ seed priming: nodulation, nitrogen fixation, and disease resistance. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 56 (11). pp. 1211-1218. ISSN 0004-9409

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On-farm seed priming with water is a low-cost, low-risk technology that is easily adopted by resource-poor farmers. It increases the yield of tropical and subtropical annual crops in marginal areas by a combination of better crop establishment and improved individual plant performance. The effects of seed priming, i.e. soaking seeds overnight in water before sowing, on plant growth and development are consequences of faster germination, emergence, and more vigorous early growth. Results from in-vitro, on-station and on-farmexperiments are discussed. Recent work has tested opportunities for resource-poor farmers to use seed priming as a vehicle for applying biofertilisers (Rhizobia). Preliminary results from field experiments suggest that these interventions are very effective over and above the already demonstrated benefits of priming with water alone. In a pot experiment using chickpea, combining a Rhizobium inoculation with seed priming significantly increased nodulation but had little effect on yield. Nevertheless, the results confirmed that Rhizobium inoculation is compatible with on-farm seed priming. Observations in the field have shown that some primed crops show enhanced resistance to disease, either as a consequence of increased vigour, altered phenology, or due to some more fundamental mechanism associated with exposure of seeds to anaerobic conditions during priming. Priming seeds of a highly susceptible cultivar of pearl millet in water for 8 h before sowing significantly reduced the incidence of downy mildew in artificially infected seedlings from 80% to less than 60%.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Others > Soil Science
Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Others > Fertilizer Applications
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 28 Dec 2011 06:09
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2011 06:09
Official URL:
Funders: Department for International Development
Acknowledgement: The authors thank Mr Julian Bridges for his assistance with this work. This paper is an output from projects R7438 and R7379 funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Plant Sciences Research Programme and administered by the CAZS Natural Resources. The views expressed are not necessarily those of DFID.
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