Influence of Harvesting Methods and Timings on Yield and Quality of Selected Bread Wheat Varieties
An experiment was executed at experimental farm of Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam to quantify the losses in grain yield and quality of wheat in relation to time and method of harvesting. The experiment involved three bread wheat varieties (Kiran-95, Mehran-89 and TD-1) and two harvesting methods; conventional method using Sickle and mechanized method using Reaper. The harvesting times considered were: 5-days-before-maturity (DBM), 5-Days-after-maturity (DAM), 10 DAM, and 15 DAM. The data were recorded for grain yield, yield components (harvest index, seed index, etc.) and some grain quality traits (shriveled & broken grain losses). The results highlighted that, harvesting with reaper was most effective and economical in terms of losses to grain yield and quality over sickle (manual) method of harvesting. Compared to the other harvesting times tested in this study, the wheat crop harvested at proper physiological maturity (5 DAM) was found to be most effective and beneficial to maintain quality and obtain maximum grain yield. Generally, wheat crop harvested through conventional method using sickle showed more harvesting losses at different harvesting intervals. Among three wheat cultivars, the cultivar TD-1 harvested with sickle (manual method) at proper maturity, 5 DBM and 5, 10 and 15 DAM showed 5.55%, 6.54%, 7.09%, 8.06% and 9.45% harvesting losses; and 8.79%, 10.46%, 10.67%, 11.76% and 13.25% hauling losses, respectively. Contrarily, when same cultivar TD-1 was harvested through mechanized method using reaper, the respective treatment plots showed 5.35%, 6.09%, 6.21%, 7.07% and 8.49% harvesting losses, and 8.57%, 9.89%, 9.54%, 10.45% and 11.99% hauling losses to grain yield, respectively. This study suggests that wheat crop should be harvested with reaper at proper physiological maturity. Among the three bread wheat varieties included in the study, the variety Kiran-95 proved to be the most resistant to grain yield and quality losses.