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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Agronomic Application of Genetic Resources

Density Dependence Rather Than Maturity Determines Hybrid Selection in Dryland Maize Production


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 104 No. 2, p. 331-336
    Received: June 29, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): itokatl@agro.duth.gr
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  1. Z. Berzsenyia and
  2. I. S. Tokatlidis *b
  1. a Agricultural Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 2462 Martonvásár, Hungary
    b Department of Agricultural Development, Democritus University of Thrace, 68200 Orestiada, Greece


For dryland maize (Zea mays L.) production, it is believed that optimal hybrid choice pertains to time required to reach maturity. In our study, the main hypothesis was that density independence (ability of the hybrid to yield highly under both low and high density) is another key factor that deserves special consideration. To address the issue, field experimentation was conducted under rainfed conditions at Martonvásár, Hungary for 11 yr. Treatments consisted of four N fertilizer rates (0, 100, 200, and 300 kg ha−1), four plant population densities (3, 5, 7, and 9 plants m−2), and four hybrids (Mara, Norma, Gazda, and Maraton). Variation in precipitation contributed to considerable variability in grain yield, which ranged from 1.46 to 7.67 T ha−1. A positive relationship between optimum density and mean experimental yield indicated suitability of low and high plant populations for unfavorable and favorable seasons, respectively. Among hybrids, the mid-season Norma and full-season Maraton and Gazda hybrids were superior over the short-season Mara. However, Maraton hybrid exhibited a wide range of optimum densities, and performed as a density-independent hybrid. This characteristic enables hybrid planting at low density to meet requirements of the dry season and good utilization of occasional high rainfalls with less yield potential loss. This research indicated that breeding density-independent hybrids help in maize production under dryland conditions.

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