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American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Year: 2011  |  Volume: 6  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 279 - 286

Corn (Zea Mays L.) Plant Characteristics and Grain Yield Response to N Fertilization Programs in No-Tillage System

Kesi Liu and Pawel Wiatrak    

Abstract: Problem statement: Nitrogen application timing and Nitrogen (N) rate are two important factors to influence corn production in No-Tillage (NT) system, but N recommendations may need to be revised due to insufficient rainfall in dryland rain-fed environment. Approach: This study was to determine the effects of two N application timing (planting and split application at planting and V6 corn growth stage) and five N rates (0, 45, 90, 135 and 180 kg N ha-1) on corn plant characteristics and grain yield under rain-fed and low corn yield environment. Plant characteristics included the measurement of plant height, ear height, relative chlorophyll content (SPAD) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Results: Plant height and ear height at R1 stage, SPAD at R1 and NDVI at V8 and R1 increased significantly with increasing N rates, while N application timing had no effect on measured canopy characteristics. Grain yield increased from 2.2-3.8 Mg ha-1 as N rate changed from 0-180 kg ha-1. However, applying more than 90 kg N ha-1 did not significantly increase grain yields. The N application timing did not influence yield. Strong correlations were observed among corn plant characteristics and between plant NDVI at V8 and R1 stages and grain yields. Conclusion: These results indicate that N application timing was not important factor to affect corn plant characteristics and grain yield under rain-fed and low corn yield dryland conditions and we may not expect a significant grain yield increase with application exceeding 90 kg N ha-1 under these conditions. Plant NDVI at V8 and R1 stage could be a good indicator to predict corn grain yield.

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