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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 4, p. 930-937
    Received: Dec 14, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): mtollena@uoguelph.ca
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Effect of Crowding Stress on Dry Matter Accumulation and Harvest Index in Maize

  1. Matthijs Tollenaar *,
  2. William Deen,
  3. Laura Echarte and
  4. Weidong Liu
  1. Department of Plant Agriculture, Crop Science Building, Univ. of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada, N1G 2W1


Conflicting results have been reported on the effects of spacing and emergence variability on grain yield in maize (Zea mays L.). Effects of spacing and emergence variability on maize grain yield are the net result of the responses of all plants within the stand. The objective of this study was to quantify effects of spacing and emergence variability on crop yield in terms of increased or decreased crowding stress on resource capture (i.e., dry matter accumulation) and resource utilization (i.e., dry matter partitioning) of the individual plants within the crop canopy. Results of previously reported studies were analyzed in terms of plant dry matter accumulation, leaf area, plant growth rate during the critical period for kernel set bracketed by silking (PGRs), grain yield, and harvest index, that is, the proportion of dry matter partitioned to the grain at maturity. Results show that a moderate increase in plant-spacing variability does not influence maize grain yield at the canopy level because reductions in grain yield of plants that experience enhanced crowding stress is compensated, in part, by increased yield of plants that experience reduced crowding stress; crowding stress affected dry matter accumulation but did not affect harvest index. In contrast, plant-emergence variability reduced grain yield at the canopy level because the reduction in grain yield was attributable, in part, to a reduction in harvest index of plants with PGRs less than the threshold for kernel set. Hence, plants can compensate for factors that influence resource capture, but cannot compensate for a reduction in factors that influence resource utilization.

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Copyright © 2006. American Society of AgronomyAmerican Society of Agronomy