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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Seed Density and Seed Size of Pearl Millet as Related to Field Emergence and Several Seed and Seedling Traits1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 77 No. 4, p. 567-571
    Received: July 29, 1983

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  1. M. Lawan,
  2. F. L. Barnett,
  3. B. Khaleeq and
  4. R. L. Vanderlip2



Pearl millet, Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke, is often established under stressful environmental conditions. Thus, establishment capability is crucial to success of the crop. Objectives of this study were (i) to verify previous results associating establishment of the crop with density and size of seed, and (ii) to identify other seed and seedling traits of pearl millet that are related to seed density and size. Seed of four populations was divided by gravity table into three density fractions, each of which was then separated, by dockage sieves, into three size fractions. Seed representing each population-density size fraction was evaluated in a field study at Manhattan, KS in 1981 and in the laboratory. Seedling emergence increased from 40% with small, low-density seed, to 62% with large, high-density seed. Days from seeding to anthesis decreased from 70 with small, low-density seed, to 62 with large, high-density seed. In both cases, density and size interacted in such a manner that each factor had most effect at low levels of the other. Seed weight, a germination index that emphasized speed of germination, and seed diameter were positively affected by both seed density and size. In addition, germination, seedling height 24 days after seeding, and proportion of vitreous starch in seed endosperm were positively related to seed density. Seedling respiration rate, on a per-seed basis, was associated positively with seed density and size. With a fixed weight of seed, however, there was little effect. Results indicated that seed density and seed size were effective criteria of field establishment and of seed quality as determined by a number of laboratory tests. In some cases, however, the nature of the density × size interaction implied that the major effects of both factors were effectively integrated in seed weight.

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