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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Effect of Plant Density and Growth Duration on Grain Sorghum Yield under Limited Water Supply1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 62 No. 3, p. 333-336
    Received: Dec 31, 1969

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  1. A. Blum2



In one experiment, three experimental grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench.) hybrids (heading 55, 60, and 70 days from emergence) were planted at 12 plant densities (from 2.9 to 27.9 plants/m2) in a systematic design. Plants were grown under conditions of 302 mm available soil water, as determined at emergence, with no additional water supply.

It was found that the grain yield of the late maturing hybrid was highest under the low plant density and that of an early maturing hybrid was highest under the high density. The superiority of low density in the late maturing hybrid and of high density in the early maturing hybrid was also consistent regarding yield per plant, number of heads per plant and number of grains per panicle.

The highest yield in the experiment was obtained with the earliest maturing hybrid planted at the densest plant population. All grain yield components were operative in the determination of inter-hybrid differences under moderate competition. The expression of components was suppressed by increased competition, and at the highest plant density grain yield was determined only through the interaction between the number of grains per panicle and the weight per grain. The superiority of the early maturing hybrid at the highest density was attained through its ability to maintain larger grains in spite of increased interplant competition for water.

In a second experiment an early maturing hybrid used less water than a later maturing hybrid, at all stages of growth, beginning on 30 days from emergence. Water use was increased by increased plant density.

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