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  • 1 The Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Agricultural Water Resources, Center for Agricultural Resources Research, Institute of Genetic and Developmental Biology 286 Huaizhong Road Shijiazhuang 050021 China
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Field cultivation practices affected soil temperature that influenced the crop development of winter crops. This study was undertaken to determine the effects of different mulch materials, tillage depths and planting methods on spike differentiation of winter wheat ( Triticum aestivum L.). The field experiment was consisted of three tests: (i) polythene mulch, straw mulch and no mulch; (ii) ridge planting and furrow planting; (iii) conventional tillage and shallow tillage. The results showed that soil temperature was affected by different practices. The higher soil temperature under polythene mulch resulted in the earlier initiation of spike differentiation, while straw mulch decreased soil temperature in spring that delayed the initiation compared with the non-mulch treatment. The spike initiation under ridge planting started earlier than that of furrow planting. Reduced tillage delayed the initiation compared with the conventional tillage. Duration of spike differentiation lasted longer under earlier starting of initiation that increased the grain numbers per spike. Other yield component characters were not affected by soil temperature. It was concluded that in the North China Plain where grain-filling duration of winter wheat was limited, agricultural practices that increased soil temperature in spring were favorable for grain production.

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