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Crop Science Abstract -

Effect of Prolificacy on Grain Yield and Root and Stalk Strength in Maize


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 28 No. 5, p. 750-755
    Received: Sept 14, 1987

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. D. J. Brotslaw,
  2. L. L. Darrah ,
  3. M. S. Zuber and
  4. G. F. Krause
  1. D ep. of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, Univ. of Minnesota, St. Paul MN 55108



Poor root and stalk strength have contributed to limited use of prolific maize (Zea mays L.) hybrids by farmers. Knowledge of the relationships of yield, prolificacy, and plant standability permits appropriate emphasis in selection programs. Three prolific maize populations and one nonprolific hybrid (B73 ✕ Mo17) were grown a randomized complete block design in two environments to measure the effect of total grain yield and number of ears per plant on stalk and root quality. Data were recorded on an individual plant basis for date of anthesis and silk emergence, total grain yield and grain yield among ears of a plant, ear height, vertical root pulling resistance, and stalk crushing strength. All competitive plants were harvested and on the basis of overall frequency distribution of grain yield between ears, were subdivided into one- and two-eared prolificacy levels for variance and mean analysis. Two-eared plants had significantly higher mean grain yields, closer synchrony between anthesis and silking, and greater ear heights than one-eared plants for the three prolific populations. No significant differences were found between one- and two-eared plants for vertical root pulling resistance or stalk crushing strength. Simple correlations for root pulling resistance and stalk crushing strength with percent of total grain yield in top ear were generally nonsignificant for the three prolific populations and when significant, were smaller than the same correlations with total yield.

Joint contribution of the Missouri Agric. Exp. Stn. and USDA-ARS. Journal Series no. 10 385. Part of the senior authors M.S. research.

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