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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH FOR IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND PRODUCER PROFITABILITY

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: Conventional and glyphosate-resistant maize yields across plant densities in single- and twin-row configurations

Authors
item Balkcom, Kipling
item Satterwhite, Jason -
item Arriaga, Francisco
item Price, Andrew
item Van Santen, Edzard -

Submitted to: Field Crops Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 30, 2010
Publication Date: February 14, 2011
Citation: Balkcom, K.S., Satterwhite, J., Arriaga, F.J., Price, A.J., Van Santen, E. 2011. Conventional and glyphosate-resistant maize yields across plant densities in single- and twin-row configurations. Field Crops Research. 120:330-337.

Interpretive Summary: Corn (Zea mays L.) produced in narrow rows can increase yields and accelerate canopy closure. Costly equipment modifications make narrow rows impractical, but a twin row configuration may boost production with fewer equipment modifications. Scientists with USDA-ARS located at the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory in Auburn, AL in cooperation with scientists from Auburn University compared weed biomass, leaf area index, and yield for a conventional (CN) and a glyphosate-tolerant (GT) hybrid across three plant densities (low 4.0 – 4.4 plants m-2; medium 5.9 – 6.4 plants m-2; and high 7.9 – 8.4 plants m-2) in two row configurations (single vs. twin) at four locations during the 2005 growing season. Row configuration had little effect on weed biomass compared to plant density and hybrid. Leaf area index increased as plant density increased at all locations. In general, leaf area index increased with the twin row configuration, but leaf area index also varied with hybrid based on interactions between hybrid and plant density or row configuration. Soil water content was similar between row configurations at all four sites during monitoring period. Row configuration had little impact on corn yields, while plant density had the most effect on yields. Plant density also interacted with hybrid or row configuration at multiple locations, although corn yields did not always increase with higher plant density. Conventional hybrids may also provide an alternative to GT hybrids, particularly at lower plant densities. Corn yield increases with twin rows were minimal and may not justify twin row conversion, but growers that already utilize twin row equipment will not suffer yield decreases by planting twin rows.

Technical Abstract: Corn (Zea mays L.) produced in narrow rows can increase yields and accelerate canopy closure. Costly equipment modifications make narrow rows impractical, but a twin row configuration may boost production with fewer equipment modifications. We compared weed biomass, leaf area index, and yield for a conventional (CN) and a glyphosate-tolerant (GT) hybrid across three plant densities (low 4.0 – 4.4 plants m-2; medium 5.9 – 6.4 plants m-2; and high 7.9 – 8.4 plants m-2) in two row configurations (single vs. twin) at four locations during the 2005 growing season. The experimental design was a randomized complete block (RCB) with a split-split plot restriction on randomization, where hybrids were assigned to main plots, row configurations to subplots, and plant density to sub-subplots with four replications. Row configuration had little effect on weed biomass compared to plant density and hybrid. Leaf area index increased with higher plant density at all locations. In general, leaf area index increased with the twin row configuration, but leaf area index also varied with hybrid based on interactions between hybrid and plant density or row configuration. Soil water content was similar between row configurations at all four sites during monitoring period. Row configuration had little impact on corn yields, while plant density had the most effect on yields. Plant density also interacted with hybrid or row configuration at multiple locations, although corn yields did not always increase with higher plant density. Conventional hybrids may also provide an alternative to GT hybrids, particularly at lower plant densities. Corn yield increases with twin rows were minimal and may not justify twin row conversion, but growers that already utilize twin row equipment will not suffer yield decreases by planting twin rows.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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