In most tropical regions where wheat is grown under irrigation, high temperatures at sowing adversely affect crop establishment and subsequent seedling survival. The objective of this study was to compare wheat (Triticum aestivum) genotypes for their ability to germinate and grow at high temperatures during the seedling stage. Twenty-five seeds each of 14 spring wheat cultivars were placed on moist filter paper at different temperatures (5°C to 40°C) in a one-way thermogradient plate to determine the cardinal temperatures for germination. Rate of germination at each temperature for each genotype was computed as the inverse of time taken for 50% of the seeds to germinate. Rate of germination for each genotype at different temperatures was modelled with temperature to determine the base (tb), and optimum (topt) temperatures. Response of germination to temperature for each genotype was calculated as the slope of a linear regression of the rate of germination on temperature below topt. Genotypes differed in their optimum temperatures and Mexipak (= Kalyansona) had the lowest. Range in base temperature among the genotypes was between 0°C and 2°C differences but were not statistically significant though they might be biologically significant. Genotypes differed in their response to temperature with Gomam having the lowest rate, implying that it was slow to respond to increasing temperatures. Debeira and Cham 6 showed a similar response. Three lines which had performed well in spring wheat evaluation trials for moderate rainfall areas under heat stress had the highest response rate.
It is concluded that combining higher optimum temperatures with faster response rates would result in better-adapted germplasm for regions where high temperatures persist at sowing.