Yield response of barley germplasm to field variation in salinity quantified using the EM-38
Five field trials to screen a range of barley germplasm for tolerance to saline soil conditions were conducted on irrigation farms in southern New South Wales, in areas affected by secondary salinisation from shallow watertables. Three trials were located on heavy grey clay soils and 2 on red-brown earth soils. An electromagnetic soil conductivity meter (EM-38) was used to quantify the salinity of individual field plots. Cultivars were compared in terms of their grain yield response to soil salinity. Yields were significantly reduced by soil salinty at all sites except 1 on red-brown earth. Both genetic and site differences in salinity response were identified. The reduction in yield per unit increase in electrical conductivity of the saturated paste (EC,), averaged across sites, varied from 4.7% for Forrest to 6.6% for Schooner. However, the yield reduction per unit increase in EC,, averaged across cultivars, varied from 4.1% in a red-brown earth to 6.4% in heavy clays.