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Crop Science Abstract - Seed Physiology, Production & Technology

Seed Vigor and the Uniformity of Emergence of Corn Seedlings


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 52 No. 6, p. 2774-2782
    Received: Jan 31, 2012
    Published: October 10, 2012

    * Corresponding author(s): degli@uky.edu
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  1. D.B. Egli *a and
  2. M. Ruckera
  1. a Dep. of Plant and Soil Sciences, Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546-0312. Published with the approval of the Director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station as Paper No. 12-06-015


Seed vigor is defined as those “seed properties that determine the potential for rapid, uniform emergence and development of seedlings under a wide range of field conditions.” Seedlings from high-vigor seed lots are expected to emerge more uniformly than those from low-vigor lots. We tested this hypothesis in a series of greenhouse and growth chamber experiments with several high- and low-vigor corn (Zea mays L.) samples that had high standard germination. Seed-vigor levels were estimated with the saturated cold test where the seeds were stressed with low temperature (10°C) and field soil for 7 d and then germination was measured after 5 d at 25°C. The uniformity index (UI) (time from 10 to 90% of final emergence) was estimated by planting seeds 3.8 cm deep in soil and counting emergence every 6 h in greenhouse and growth chamber experiments. Lowering the soil temperature from roughly 23 to 15°C increased the time to 10% of final emergence (T10) from about 100 to more than 300 h and increased the UI. Low-vigor seed always had a larger UI than high- vigor seed, but the difference was less when the seedlings emerged rapidly (UIs were 20 to 30 h) than when they emerged slowly (maximum of ∼80 h for high-vigor seed and 140 h for low-vigor seed). High-vigor seed had more uniform emergence, but soil temperature and the time to emergence also influenced uniformity.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the Crop Science Society of America, Inc.