Performance of late sown wheat in response to foliar application of Moringa oleiferaLam. leaf extract.

Azra Yasmeen1, Shahzad Maqsood Ahmed Basra2, Rashid Ahmad2, and Abdul Wahid3

A rise in temperature during early spring inducing early maturity is a key yield-reducing factor in late sown wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Moringa oleifera Lam. leaves are rich in zeatin, a cytokininthat plays a role in delaying leaf senescence, in addition to other growth-enhancing compounds such as ascorbates, phenolics, and minerals. The objective of this study was to optimize dose and optimum growth stage for foliar-applied moringa leaf extract (MLE) and its role in delaying leaf senescence in late sown wheat. The wheat crop was sown on 16 December 2008; MLE (diluted 30 times) was applied at different growth stages from tillering to heading and heading alone and distilled water was sprayed as a control. All the MLE treatment results were better than the control. However, an increase of 10.73%, 6.00%, 10.70%, and 4.00% was evident in 1000 grain weight, biological yield, grain yield, and harvest index, respectively, with MLE spray at tillering + jointing + booting + heading. The MLE spray used only at heading gave 6.84%, 3.17%, 6.80%, and 3.51% more than the control 1000grain weight, biological yield, grain yield, and harvest index, respectively. The MLE extended seasonal leaf area duration (Seasonal LAD) by 9.22 and 6.45 d over the control when applied at all growth stages and a single spray at heading, respectively. We conclude that it is possible that the presence of growth-promoting substances in MLE foliar spray can delay crop maturity and extend seasonal LAD and the grain-filling period, thereby leading to greater seed and biological yields in late sown wheat.

Keywords: Crop maturity, seasonal leaf area duration, late sowing, Moringa oleifera, wheat.
1Bahauddin Zakariya University, University College of Agriculture, Department of Agronomy, Multan, Pakistan.*Corresponding author(suhemaamin@yahoo.com).
2University of Agriculture, Department of Crop Physiology, Faisalabad-38040, Pakistan.
3University of Agriculture, Department of Botany, Faisalabad-38040, Pakistan.