Which plant measurement – when – for what

Within the manual Protocols for experimental plot sampling, handling and processing of cereals in field experiments(external link) by G.J. Rebetzke (Greg.Rebetzke@csiro.au), A. van Herwaarden, B. Biddulph, C. Moeller, R. Richards, A. Rattey and K. Chenu.


Measure When For what Requirement*
Soil characterisation Sowing and maturity Soil characteristics ++
Sowing Initial soil status (H20, N…) ++
Continuous Soil water content over time Depend on the study
Climatic data Daily Main impact on plant growth and develop. +++
Hourly +
Plant establishment DC12-13 Estimation of -real’ density +++
Info on seeds, seed bed, sowing conditions
Ground cover DC12 up to closure of the canopy Early vigour assessment +
Importance for soil evaporation, weed competition, soil water depletion
Canopy light interception DC20+ Growth rates; Radiation use efficiency +
Leaf area/biomass at five-leaf stage DC1 5 Plant growth assessment +
Carbon isotope discrimination
Assessing plant and crop development DC29+ Phenology assessment (in particular flowering date) +++
Carbon isotope discrimination DC30-32 Assess leaf photosynthesis capacity, potential drought adaptation Depend on the study
Leaf and root/crown disease DC12+ Disease assessment If applicable
Crop canopy temperature DC37+ Estimation of transpiration rate (potential drought adaptation) Depend on the study
Biomass at flowering DC65 Assess crop growth during vegetative period ++
Stem WSC at flowering DC65 Assess carbon reserves at the end of the vegetative period +
Plant N content at flowering DC65 Assess putative N deficiency +
Anthesis and post-anthesis leaf characteristics DC65+ Plant growth assessment, Impact on stress tolerance Depend on the study
Extreme temperature damage DC70.2+ Impact on yield (can also be assessed with climatic records) +
Maturity height, crop lodging, and shattering DC92+ Impact on harvest ++
Maturity harvest index, biomass and spike number DC92+ Assess plant growth during crop cycle, grain yield component +++
Grain size, hectolitre weight and grain screenings DC93+ Harvest quality +++
Maturity machine harvest DC93+ Grain yield +++

* Indication of the general relevance for each measurement (Note that this may vary across studies): +++, of prime importance;, ++, very useful; +, valuable information.


Other resources

Appendix 1.(external link) Text description of phenological scale, Zadoks decimal code (DC).
Appendix 2.(external link) Picture description of phenological scale, Zadoks decimal code (DC).
Zadoks JC, Chang TT, Konzak CF (1974) A decimal code for the growth stages of cereals. Weed Research 14(6),415-421. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3180.1974.tb01084.x

Notes and troubleshooting tips


Download complete manual: Protocols for cereal field experiments_Nov2012.pdf

Health, safety & hazardous waste disposal considerations


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