To quantitatively access the effects of drought stress during different growth stages of soybean on development process and yield, a pot-culture experiment was conducted in China’s Huaibei Plain with different irrigation treatments over two seasons (2015 and 2016). Two drought stress levels (mild and severe) were applied at four growth stages for the experiment (S: seedling stage; B: branching stage; FPS: flowering and pod-setting stage; and PF: pod-filling stage). The effects of drought stress at different stages on growth and yield were evaluated and compared. Results of this two-year study showed that all growth and yield parameters were significantly affected by the water deficit during the sensitive FPS. Compared to the full irrigation treatment, severe drought stress during FPS caused a 22% loss of final plant height, 61% loss of the leaf area per plant (LAP), and 67% loss of final aboveground dry matter (ADM). Yield components also declined dramatically with water deficits during FPS and PF. Significant seed yield losses of 73–82% per plant were observed in the plants exposed to drought stress during FPS, and were also associated with the highest nonviable pod percentage of 13%. The greatest losses in 100-seed weight (42–48%) were observed under drought stress during PF. A rising trend in response to increasing soil water deficit (SWD) was observed for LAP, yield, and ADM losses. The slope (k) values of these fitting curves varied at different treatments, the highest value of k (7.37 and 8.47 in two years, respectively) was also observed in the sensitive FPS.
Wei, Y., Jin, J., Jiang, S., Ning, S., & Liu, L. (2018). Quantitative Response of Soybean Development and Yield to Drought Stress during Different Growth Stages in the Huaibei Plain, China. Agronomy, 8(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8070097