Preharvest sprouting is common in cereals that lack grain dormancy if maturing grain is exposed to rain. Over three successive seasons wheat genotypes with a range of dormancy levels, were exposed to moisture stress and periods of high temperature stress (> 30 degrees C) in controlled field trials. Dormancy assessments were based on a germination index of hand threshed grain throughout grain filling. There were three main results. First, moisture stress combined with consistently high temperature during grain filling was associated with induced dormancy in Cunderdin, (germination index of 0.41) in a normally non-dormant genotype (germination index normally > 0.80), but no additional dormancy in DM 2001, a dormant genotype (germination index normally < 0.10). In contrast sudden heat shocks (> 30 degrees C max. for > 12 days) at 30-50 days post-anthesis reduced dormancy, germination index increase of 0.42 on average across five genotypes. Secondly, whilst dormancy was affected by moisture and heat stress, genotypes maintained their relative rankings across environments and genotype had the most effect on dormancy (70-92% of the variation in germination index) with DM 2001 and DH 22 more dormant than DH 56, DH 45 and Cunderdin. Finally, the effect of environment was different for different genotypes; those with partial dormancy (germination index usually 0.20-0.50, DH 56 and DH 45) were most influenced by the environmental conditions with germination indexes ranging from 0.06 to 0.85 depending on environment. Consequently avoidance of high temperatures, moisture stress, and maturity x stress interactions, are important prerequisites in screening for genotypes with genetic differences in dormancy. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.