Research and wheat yield In Chile

René Cortázar S.1

The increase of wheat yield in Chile could not have been possible without an adecuate research. If research stoped, there would probably be a rapid decrease of the yield. As an example, it can be noted that the average usefulllife of a wheat cultivar in Chile is less than 5 years. Information about the effect of research in the improvement of the main practices is presented. An analysis of the changes in: cultivar; crop rotation; fertilization; date of sowing; weed, diseases, and insect control; irrigation; and tillage methods is presented, The average yield per hectare, from 1945 to 1989 is presented. In the period 1945-49 it was of 12.1 quintalsjhectare, in 1984-89, it was 27.4. So the increase was of 126%. But the increase was not steady through the years. The increase from 1945-49 to 1965- 69 was 37.2%, from 1965-69 to 1980-83 itwas only of 1.8% and in the period 1980-83 to 1984-89, 62.1%. An analysis of the factors that explain the different speeds of progress in the three periods that were considered is discussed. In arder to analize the effect of research in the yield per hectare the average yield of the country in the period 1945-49 and 1989 were compared. The price of wheat was higher in 1945-49 than in 1989. The interest rates were negative in the first period while in 1989 they were 10%. The yield in 1945-49 was 12.1 qqmjha while the yield in 1989 was 32.7. The increased yield in 1989 is due to the better technology provided by research.

Keywords: wheat, production, price, interest, fertilizers, agronomic factors.
1 Estación Experimental La Platina (INIA), Casilla 439, Correo 3, Santiago, Chile.