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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 5, p. 851-854
    Received: Sept 18, 1981

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Effects of Plant and Row Spacing on Dryland Soybean Yield and Water-Use Efficiency1

  1. J Alessi and
  2. J. F. Power2



Data on effects of plant and row spacing on yield of soybeans [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] have given conflicting results. Most such experiments were conducted under conditions of little or no water stress. The experiments reported here, conducted under more severe stress conditions, broaden the water-availability spectrum covered. Each spring, 1976 through 1979, soybeans were seeded on Temvik silt loam (fine-silty, mixed Typic Haploborolls) at Mandan, N.D., in row widths of 15, 45, and 90 cm, and at within-row spacings of 11, 15, and 23 cm, which resulted in plant populations of 48,000 to 580,000 plantsha.

Soil water depletion by soybeans was generally confined to the upper 90-cm soil depth. Average (4-year) water use was 23.6 cm, and was not significantly affected by plant spacing. In 2 of the 4 years, total water use was greatest and average soybean yields were least Prom the 15-cm row width. Within-row spacing affected yields in only 1 of the 4 years.

Water-use efficiency was least for 15-cm rows in 3 of the 4 years. These data suggest that planting in 15-cm rows enhances water use prior to flowering. In extreme drought situations, this enhanced earlyseason water use leaves less water available for pod-fill, and seed yields may be reduced accordingly. Under less severe water stress, however, plant and row spacing has no affect on soybean yield.

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