Rapid seedling establishment is an important requirement for successful crop production in dry land farming systems. Seed size, as a characteristic of seed quality, influences seedling growth and establishment. In order to study the effects of seed and embryo size on early growth of wheat genotypes the experiment was conducted in a split plot randomized block design with genotypes as main plots and seed size as subplots, with four blocks at the Rose worthy Campus, the University of Adelaide in 2010. Two experiments are described; the first experiment was design to correlate the size of embryo with seed size for different genotypes of wheat. The second was a pot experiment conducted for 14 days to ascertain the effect of embryo size on seedling vigor. The result showed that Barunga, Excalibur and RAC655 had similar Embryo weights in large and medium seed, but in other wheat genotypes large seed had heavier Embryos than medium seed and large seed had 42% heavier than small seed. Between genotypes, Yallaroi and Spear had heavier embryos than most other genotypes at all seed sizes and Janz had relatively small embryos in the large seed. Large embryos produced longer coleoptile than small embryos. Between genotypes, Spear had the longest and Yarallinka the shortest coleoptile and there was no interaction between genotypes and embryo size for coleoptile length. Greater seedling dry matter resulted from large seed compared to medium and small seed, except in Tatiara which had similar seedling dry matter when grown from large and medium seed. Generally the result in this experiment showed that, seedlings from large seed have better growth than those from small seed.
Key words: Wheat, seed size, embryo, coleoptile, seedling growth.
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