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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 79 No. 5, p. 891-895
    Received: Oct 30, 1986

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Uneven Variation in Plant-to-Plant Spacing in Pearl Millet1

  1. P. Soman,
  2. R. Jayachandran and
  3. F. R. Bidinger2



Plant-to-plant spacing in farmers' fields of pearl millet [Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke] is often highly variable. The effect of typical variation in spacing on grain yield was determined in a range of cropping situations. Twenty within-row plant spacing patterns were designed so that the variance of spacing (Vs) between plants would range from 0 to 2.3 m2, which represented the range measured from farmers' fields in India. These spacing patterns were tested in three trials conducted on an alfisol (Udic Rhodustalf, Patancheru series) in which plant population, fertility, and season varied. In all the trials, seeds were sown in predetermined positions in each row and later thinned to a single plant per position. As Vs increased from 0.01 to 0.05, 0.10, and 0.70 m2, yields declined 21, 29, and 47%, respectively. This reduction in yield did not depend on fertility level, season, or plant population. Most of the yield reduction could be attributed to reduction in panicle number per plant, the major yield determinant in the cultivar studied. The results suggest that the tillering capacity of pearl millet, although it provides the capacity to adjust to a wide range of plant populations per se, does not provide adjustment to major changes in Vs. Emphasis in the design of new seeding technology should therefore be on even distribution of seed, rather than on control of seeding rate.

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