Impact of different on-farm management practices on bread wheat quality: a case study in the Yaqui Valley
BACKGROUND: Continuous development of new wheat varieties is necessary to satisfy the demands of farmers, industry, and consumers. The evaluation of candidate genotypes for commercial release under different on-farm conditions is a strategy that has been strongly recommended to assess the performance and stability of new cultivars in heterogeneous environments and under different farming systems. The main objectives of this study were to evaluate the grain yield and quality performance of ten different genotypes across six contrasting farmers’ field conditions with different irrigation and nitrogen fertilization levels, and to develop suggestions to aid breeding programs and farmers to use resources more efficiently. Genotype and genotype by environment (GGE) interaction biplot analyses were used to identify the genotypes with the strongest performance and greatest stability in the Yaqui Valley. RESULTS: Analyses showed that some traits were mainly explained by the genotype effect, others by the field management conditions, and the rest by combined effects. The most representative and diverse field conditions in the Yaqui Valley were also identified, a useful strategy when breeders have limited resources. The independent effects of irrigation and nitrogen levels and their interaction were analyzed for each trait. The results showed that full irrigation was not always necessary to maximize grain yield in the Yaqui Valley. Other suggestions for more efficient use of resources are proposed. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of on-farm trials with GGE interaction analyses is an effective strategy to include in breeding programs to improve processes and resources. Identifying the most outstanding and stable genotypes under real on-farm systems is key to the development of novel cultivars adapted to different management and environmental conditions.