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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Modeling

Effect of Genotype, Nitrogen, Plant Density, and Row Spacing on the Area-per-Leaf Profile in Maize


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 1, p. 94-99
    Received: Apr 15, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): mtollena@uoguelph.ca
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  1. Oscar R. Valentinuza and
  2. Matthijs Tollenaar *b
  1. a Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria, EEA Paraná Ruta 11 km 12.5 (3101) Oro Verde, Entre Ríos, Argentina, and Universidad Nacional de Entre Ríos, Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias, CC 24 (3100) Paraná, Entre Ríos, Argentina
    b Dep. of Plant Agriculture, Univ. of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1


Accurate estimates of total leaf area and the vertical leaf area profile are important in process-based crop growth models. The bell-shaped function that quantifies the area-per-leaf profile of a maize (Zea mays L.) plant can be used to estimate the area-per-leaf profile. The objectives of this study were to quantify the effects of maize hybrid, soil N, plant density, and row spacing on the coefficients of the bell-shaped function. The coefficients of the bell-shaped function that quantify (i) the breadth of the area-per-leaf profile, (ii) the skewness of the area-per-leaf profile, and (iii) the position of the largest leaf were estimated using nonlinear regression in four datasets. Datasets consisted of the fully expanded leaf areas of all leaves on maize plants grown in studies performed in Ontario, Canada, between 1997 and 2001 that included combinations of maize hybrids, plant densities, N levels, and row spacing. Observations fitted well to the bell-shaped function (r 2 > 0.95). The breadth of the area-per-leaf profile decreased under high soil N level and high plant density, and was lower for a newer than an older hybrid, whereas the opposite occurred with the position of the largest leaf. In contrast, the degree of skewness was not significantly altered by any of the factors examined in this study. Because of the relatively small impact of the examined agronomic factors on the coefficients of the bell-shaped function, a general model using mean coefficient values was validated with independent datasets. Results showed that this general bell-shaped function is a robust predictor of the area-per-leaf profile in maize.

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