University Of Tasmania
153830 - Drought tolerant maize hybrids.pdf (3.49 MB)

Drought tolerant maize hybrids have higher yields and lower water use under drought conditions at a regional scale

Download (3.49 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 14:16 authored by Su, Z, Zhoa, J, Marek, TH, Ke LiuKe Liu, Matthew HarrisonMatthew Harrison, Xue, Q
Drought is an enduring abiotic constraint to stable and consistent maize productivity under climate change, especially for low rainfall regions with limited irrigation. One adaptation for severe drought is using drought-tolerant (DT) hybrids. Here, we characterize differences between conventional and DT hybrids in terms of yield and water-use efficiency under drought conditions at a regional scale of the Texas High Plains (THP). Using a validated version of APSIM-Maize, we simulated yields of conventional and DT hybrids across 11 water regimes and 25 counties in THP from 1984 to 2018. When irrigation amounts were constrained to 90%, 80%, 70%, 60% and 50% of total irrigation used for the baseline scenario (BS; a simulated scenario of conventional hybrid under full irrigation), DT hybrids showed lower yield penalties under drought stress relative to conventional hybrids. This improved total production by 19%, 24%, 26%, 26%, and 21% for each of the above irrigation levels. When the yield-target was set as 90%, 80%, 70%, and 60% of BS, total regional irrigation applied to DT hybrid could be saved more than that to the conventional hybrid, and therefore reduced more 17%, 16%, 15%, and 15% of BS irrigation, respectively. We showed that DT hybrids had greater yield gain and water savings through improved water productivity under deficit irrigation, highlighting the potential of deficit irrigation for increasing yield for the adoption of DT hybrid. Our quantitative evaluation of the yield advantage and water saving potential associated with DT hybrids also highlighted the regional benefits associated with adoption of drought adaptive hybrids.


Grains Research & Development Corporation


Publication title

Agricultural Water Management: An International Journal



Article number









Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Elsevier Science Bv

Place of publication

Po Box 211, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1000 Ae

Rights statement

© 2022 Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license, (

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem); Management of water consumption by plant production; Maize