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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 79 No. 2, p. 259-265
    Received: Sept 23, 1985

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Radiation Balance of Dryland Grain Sorghum as Affected by Planting Geometry1

  1. J. L. Steiner2



The effects of planting geometry on the radiation balance of dryland grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. cv. DK 46) were studied in a field experiment at the USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory at Bushland, TX, in 1984 on a Pullman clay loam (a fine, mixed, thermic Torrertic Paleustoll). The objective was to reduce the radiation load on a crop through manipulation of planting geometry and to determine whether that would affect crop productivity. Net radiation was 5% higher over wide compared to narrow rows (0.76 and 0.38 m, respectively) when averaged over three population levels from 33 to 110 days after sowing. East-west rows had 14% higher net radiation than north-south rows, averaged over two row spacings. The differences in net radiation were due to daytime responses, presumably shortwave albedo differences. Leaf photosynthesis and transpiration rates and stomatal resistance were measured twice during the grain-filling period. These measurements, taken S days after a period of moderate rains, showed no differences in the plant response due to row spacing or direction treatments. Slightly higher leaf temperatures in the high-population plots may have been related to greater depletion of plant available water than in medium and low population plots (72, 66, and 67% depletion, respectively). After 1 weeks of drying, narrow-row and high-population treatments showed greater stress as evidenced by lower transpiration and photosynthesis rates and higher stomatal resistance and leaf temperature. Soil water depletion was 20% less in narrow than wide rows during a 2-week period spanning the leaf transpiration measurement dates. Leaf photosynthesis, transpiration, temperature, and stomatal resistance were not affected by differences in net radiation due to row spacing or row direction.

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