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Response of a leafy and non-leafy maize hybrid to population densities and fertilizer nitrogen levels

Response of a leafy and non-leafy maize hybrid to population densities and fertilizer nitrogen levels

Crop Science 46(5): 1860-1869

Optimum plant population density (PPD) of maize (Zea mays L.) for grain and/or silage production depends on hybrid type, soil fertility and agronomic management. Limited information exists on the yield response of Leafy maize hybrids to different PPD under varying N application rates. A field study was conducted during 2003 and 2004 in Ottawa, Canada to evaluate grain and silage yields of a Leafy hybrid ('Maizex LF850 RR') with a conventional hybrid ('Pioneer 3893'), under three PPD (60 000, 75 000, and 90 000 plants ha(-1)) and four N fertilizer (0, 75, 150, and 225 kg N ha(-1)) regimes. Canopy light interception, plant dry matter (DM), silage, and grain yield were measured. The Leafy hybrid had 20 to 25% more leaf area, on an individual plant basis, and produced significantly greater silage DM (21.1 vs. 20.0 Mg ha(-1)), but had a significantly smaller grain yield (9.4 Mg ha(-1)) than the conventional hybrid (9.7 Mg ha(-1)). The Leafy hybrid was more sensitive to high density and low N stresses, resulting in more barren plants (up to 15%), lower harvest index (HI), thus significantly lower grain yield than the conventional hybrid in 2003. Grain yield reached to a maximum with 225 kg N ha(-1) followed by 75 and 150 kg N ha(-1), but silage DM was not different between 150 and 225 kg N ha(-1) Plant population density had no effect on grain yield but silage yield increased linearly as PPD increased from 60000 to 90000 plants ha(-1). Within the tested range of PPD, no differential response of hybrids was observed in terms of grain yield or silage DM, and N treatments had no effect on response of hybrids to PPD. We conclude that the Leafy hybrid was more sensitive to high PPD and low N stresses than the conventional hybrid especially for grain production. The optimum PPD for silage production may be beyond 90000 plants ha(-1) for both types of hybrids.

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Accession: 012816576

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DOI: 10.2135/cropsci2005.06-0141

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