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  • 1 Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33 56127 Pisa Italy
  • | 2 Dipartimento di Agronomia e Gestione dell’Agroecosistema via S. Michele degli Scalzi 2 56124 Pisa Italy
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Soil gravel content affects many soil physical properties, i.e. bulk density, porosity, water infiltration and storage, as well as crop yield. Little is known regarding the influence of soil gravel content on grain yield of durum wheat ( Triticum durum Desf.). In this paper the accumulation of dry matter during the vegetative and reproductive periods and the contribution of pre-anthesis assimilates to grain yield have been evaluated in two durum wheat varieties grown on soils with 0, 10, 20, and 30% gravel content. The two varieties showed similar behaviour and more soil gravel decreased plant biomass both at anthesis and at maturity. Soil gravel content greatly reduced grain yield and dry weight of all plant parts both at anthesis and maturity. Post-anthesis dry matter accumulation was 16% lower in plants grown on 30% gravel soil and dry matter remobilization was 53% lower, compared to plants grown in gravel-free soil. The differences in growth rate were attributed to the restriction of the volume of soil available for root growth.

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