Some Metabolic Constraints to Oat Productivity

  • David M. Peterson
Part of the World Crops: Production, Utilization, Description book series (WCPU, volume 12)


The yield of oats and other cereals has been increased considerably over the years through plant breeding. To a large extent this has been accomplished through the elimination of defects, such as insect and disease susceptibility and weak straw. However, yield per se has been increased, largely through the breeding of cultivars that have a higher proportion of their dry matter at maturity in the grains. This has been called the harvest index, and has been defined as: grain wt/(grain wt + straw wt). This trend was demonstrated by Wych and Stuthman(1) who compared nine oat cultivars released over six decades in Minnesota. They found a correlation coefficient of 0.90 between grain yield and harvest index (Table 1). Biological yield was also positively correlated with grain yield, but the correlation coeffecient was lower (0.67). Lawes(2) found that grain yield of European cultivars introduced since 1908 was also highly correlated with harvest index, although the harvest indices of the European cultivars averaged considerably higher than the American ones.


Sucrose Concentration Harvest Index Unit Leaf Area Metabolic Constraint Total Leaf Nitrogen 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Peterson
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Cereal Crops Research Unit, Agricultural Research ServiceUnited States Department of AgricultureUSA
  2. 2.Department of AgronomyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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