Greenhouse experiment was carried out to investigate the effect of seed size and Fe fertilization on the early growth of wheat genotypes grown in Fe deficient clay soil which characterized by high pH and high level of calcium carbonate. Seedling of 15 wheat genotypes were grown under factorial combinations of four levels of Fe treatment and two seed size groups to evaluate the effects of seed size and Fe application on the early growth and Fe efficiency of wheat genotypes. Leaf area, chlorophyll, plant height and the shoot and root dry matter production were decreased in seedling grown from small seed size which had the low seed quality (lower seed Fe content). High Fe seed resulted better root and shoot dry matter production and root depth than high soil applied Fe. The results also demonstrated that seed Fe content can improve vegetative growth of wheat genotypes grow in Fe – deficient soil more effectively than application of Fe fertilizer to soil. A considerable variation within wheat genotypes for the ability of plant to grow and yield well when the availability of Fe is low was found.. This significant genetic variation in Fe efficiency indicated that selection for improved micronutrient efficiency is possible and will allow more efficient genotype of wheat to be developed.
Key words: seed size, iron efficiency, deficiency, calcareous soil