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S.R. Adams, P. Hadley and S. Pearson

The effects of temperature and sowing date on the time to first flowering were investigated in Petunia ×hybrida Vilm `Express Blush Pink' sown on three separate dates (8 Feb., 1 Mar. and 22 Mar. 1993) and grown in glasshouse compartments set to provide six air temperature regimes (minimum temperatures of 4, 10, 14, 18, 22, and 26 °C). Flowering was hastened under high temperatures and sowing later in the season (22 Mar.). To determine the extent to which this seasonal effect was due to photoperiod, a second experiment was conducted where plants were grown under controlled daylengths (8, 11, 14, and 17 h·d-1) within six temperature-controlled glasshouse compartments (set to provide minimum temperatures of 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, and 26 °C). The rate of progress to first flowering increased linearly with lengthening photoperiod up to a critical photoperiod of 14.4 h·d-1, while further increases in daylength had no further affect in hastening flowering. The rate of progress to flowering increased linearly with increasing temperature, however, the optimum temperature, at which the rate of progress to flowering was maximal, was lower under short days compared to long days. Furthermore, the rate of progress to flowering increased linearly with increasing photosynthetic photon flux (PPF). Data from both experiments were analyzed to construct a model to predict the effects of temperature, photoperiod, and PPF on time of flowering in petunia. This model accurately (r 2 = 0.88) predicted the flowering times of a different set of plants sown on three dates and grown under six temperature regimes (6, 10, 14, 18, 22, and 26 °C).

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M.E. Pérez de Camacaro, G.J. Camacaro, P. Hadley, N.H. Battey and J.G. Carew

The differences in growth and yield in the Junebearing strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) `Elsanta' and the everbearing `Bolero' and `Everest' were evaluated under field conditions. The seasonal patterns of radiation use efficiency and assimilate partitioning were also studied. Growth, development and yield showed considerable differences among cultivars. `Elsanta' showed the highest and `Bolero' and `Everest' the lowest values for almost all the vegetative parameters (leaf area, leaf dry weight, runner number). `Elsanta' produced large leaves and few crowns per plant in contrast to the everbearing cultivars which had more but smaller leaves and a larger number of crowns per plant. The production of flowers by `Elsanta' was concentrated in June with fruit production following in July. `Bolero' and `Everest' produced more than one flush of flowers during the season and fruited until October. As a result, yields of `Bolero' and `Everest' were greater than `Elsanta'. The higher yields of `Bolero' and `Everest' also reflected the greater number of crowns produced by these cultivars. The maximum intercepted and absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) occurred between July and August when the three cultivars showed the greatest increase in vegetative growth. Harvest index clearly differed among cultivars and this was related to the duration of cropping. The greatest harvest indexes were found for `Bolero' and `Everest'.

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J.G. Carew, K. Mahmood, J. Darby, P. Hadley and N.H. Battey

The effects of temperature, photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) and photoperiod on vegetative growth and flowering of the raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) `Autumn Bliss' were investigated. Increased temperature resulted in an increased rate of vegetative growth and a greater rate of progress to flowering. Optimum temperatures lay in the low to mid 20°C range. Above this the rate of plant development declined. Increased PPFD also advanced flowering. While photoperiod did not significantly affect the rate of vegetative growth, flowering occurred earliest at intermediate photoperiods and was delayed by extreme photoperiods. These responses suggest that there is potential for adjusting cropping times of raspberry grown under protection by manipulating the environment, especially temperature.

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A.J. Daymond, P. Hadley, R.C.R. Machado and E. Ng

Biomass partitioning of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) was studied in seven clones and five hybrids in a replicated experiment in Bahia, Brazil. Over an 18-month period, a 7-fold difference in dry bean yield was demonstrated between genotypes, ranging from the equivalent of 200 to 1389 kg·ha-1. During the same interval, the increase in trunk cross-sectional area ranged from 11.1 cm2 for clone EEG-29 to 27.6 cm2 for hybrid PA-150 × MA-15. Yield efficiency increment (the ratio of cumulative yield to the increase in trunk circumference), which indicated partitioning between the vegetative and reproductive components, ranged from 0.008 kg·cm-2 for clone CP-82 to 0.08 kg·cm-2 for clone EEG-29. An examination of biomass partitioning within the pod of the seven clones revealed that the beans accounted for between 32.0% (CP-82) and 44.5% (ICS-9) of the pod biomass. The study demonstrated the potential for yield improvement in cacao by selectively breeding for more efficient partitioning to the yield component.