The development, validation and implementation of a drought stress index for the evaluation of the drought tolerance potential of South African sugarcane

Sewpersad, Chandani (2013-03)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In the rainfed areas of the South African sugar industry the unpredictability of rainfall is of major concern for producers. Currently, research into the drought tolerance of South African sugarcane varieties is very limited. Knowledge of varietal drought tolerance potential would allow for more informed decision making when it comes to planting a crop that stays in the ground for between five and fifteen years. The aim of this study was to ascertain the drought tolerance potential of commercial sugarcane varieties using historical field trial data by employing statistical modelling. The first step was to establish a reliable methodology of quantifying the level of drought stress, defined through a drought stress index (DSI), employing the sugarcane growth modelling software Canesim. The second step was to use the selected DSI to evaluate and rate the drought tolerance potential of commercial varieties. Of the six DSI’s calculated, the index comprising a ratio of Canesim simulated rainfed yield (representative of a water stressed environment) to Canesim simulated irrigated yield (representative of a water unstressed environment) was the best at quantifyingthe level of trial drought stress. Using three varieties with previously identified drought potential, two intermediate susceptible (IS) and one intermediate (I) variety, this was the only DSI that was able to quantify all the differences between the varieties. Using the selected DSI, two different methodologies were used to evaluate varietal drought tolerance potential: General linear regression and Residual maximum likelihood meta-analysis. The regression method proved to be a better method of varietal rating when using historical field data. The two rainfed regions, coastal and midlands were analyzed separately due to the difference in climatic conditions. Using the regression analysis, with N12 as the observed intermediate reference variety, coastal varieties were rated as being susceptible (N16, N19, N39 and NCO376) or intermediate (N27, N29, N33, N36, N41, N45, N47). Rating of the midlands varieties, with both statistical methods, were unsuccessful.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Binne die droëland produksiegebied van die Suid-Afrikaanse suikerindustrie is die wisselvalligheid van reënval ʼn groot bron van kommer vir produsente. Navorsingsresultate aangaande die droogtetoleransie van Suid-Afrikaanse suikerrietvariëteite is baie beperk. Aangesien suikerriet aanplantings vir vyf tot vyftien jaar in produksie mag bly, is kennis aangaande droogtetoleransie noodsaaklik vir ingeligte besluite rondom variëteit keuse. Die doel van hierdie studie was om die droogtetoleransie van kommersiële variëteite met behulp van historiese veldproef resultate en statistiese modellering te bepaal. Die eerste stap was die ontwikkeling van betroubare metodiek wat die graad van droogtestremming kwantifiseer deur middel van droogtestremmingsindekse (DSI’s) wat met die suikerriet produksiemodel, Canesim, bereken is. Die tweede stap was om die DSI’s te gebruik om geselekteerde kommersiële variëteite vir droogtetoleransie te evalueer en volgens toleransie te rangskik. Van die ses DSI’s wat geëvalueer is, was die indeks wat die verhouding tussen Canesim gesimuleerde droëland opbrengs (verteenwoordigend van ʼn omgewing met droogte) en Canesim gesimuleerde besproeide opbrengs (verteenwoordigend van ʼn omgewing sonder droogte) omskryf het, die mees effektiefste om die graad van droogtestremming te kwantifiseer. Hierdie DSI was vervolgens die enigste wat verskille in droogtetoleransie tussen drie variëteite van bekende droogte toleransie kon kwantifiseer. Deur gebruik van hierdie DSI is twee verskillende metodes aangewend om die droogtetoleransie van variëteite te evalueer naamlik: Algemene Lineêre Regressie en Residuele Maksimum Aanneemlikheid. Die regressiemetode was die mees effektiefste om variëteite volgens droogtetoleransie, op grond van historiese veldproef resultate, te rangskik. Die twee droëland produksiegebiede, naamlik die kusstrook en Natalse Middellande is afsonderlik geanaliseer as gevolg van klimaatsverskille. Met behulp van die regressiemetode is die kus-variëteite as droogtesensitief of -intermediêr geklassifiseer, met N27, N29, N33, N36, N41, N45 en N47 as droogte-intermediêr en N16, N19, N39 en NCO376 as droogtesensitief. Soortgelyke klassifisering van die variëteite wat in die Natalse Middellande verbou word was nie met enige van die statistiese metodes suksesvol gewees nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/79823
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