Responses of time of anthesis and maturity to sowing dates and infrared warming in spring wheat

Jeffrey W. White, Bruce A. Kimball, Gerard W. Wall, Michael J. Ottman, L. A. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Reliable prediction of the potential impacts of global warming on agriculture requires accurate data on crop responses to elevated temperatures. Controlled environments can precisely regulate temperature but may impose unrealistic radiation, photoperiod and humidity regimes. Infrared warming with automatic control of temperature rise has shown potential for warming field plots above ambient temperatures, while avoiding such biases. In a field experiment conducted at Maricopa, AZ, we assessed the utility of a temperature free-air controlled enhancement (T-FACE) approach by comparing phenology of wheat from a series of six sowing date treatments using T-FACE and an additional nine sowing dates that exposed crops to an exceptionally wide range of air temperatures (<0°C to >40°C). The T-FACE treatments were intended to achieve a warming of +1.5°C during the daytime and +3.0°C at night; the achieved warming averaged +1.3°C during daytime and +2.8°C at night. T-FACE and sowing date treatments had large effects on phenology. A regression-based analysis of simulations with the CSM-CROPSIM-CERES model showed that effects of T-FACE on phenology were similar to what would be expected from equivalent changes in air temperature. However, systematic deviations from the expected 1-to-1 relation suggested that assumed cardinal temperatures for phenology should be revised. Based on the single cultivar and location, it appeared that the base temperature for emergence to anthesis should be reduced from 0°C to -5°C, whereas the base temperature for grain filling should be increased from 0°C to 4°C and the optimal temperature, from 30°C to 34°C. Both T-FACE and extreme sowing date treatments proved valuable for improving understanding of high temperature effects on plant processes, as required for accurate prediction of crop responses to elevated temperatures under climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-222
Number of pages10
JournalField Crops Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 14 2011


  • Climate change
  • Global warming
  • Infrared warming
  • Modeling
  • Phenology
  • Wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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