Nitrogen Defeciency in Maize: I. Effects on Crop Growth, Development, Dry Matter Partitioning, and Kernel Set
- Sergio Adolfo Uhart and
- Fernando Héctor Andrade
Variations in N availability affect growth and development of maize (Zea mays L.) and may lead to changes in crop physiological conditions at flowering and in kernel set. The objectives of this study were (i) to establish the effect of N availability on crop development, crop radiation interception, radiation use efficiency, and dry matter partitioning; and (ii) to study the relationship between kernel number and crop growth at flowering and between kernel number and crop N accumulation at flowering. Three experiments with a commercial hybrid (DK636) were carried out under field conditions at the INTA Baicarce Experimental Station, Argentina, without water limitations. The treatments consisted of different radiation levels, obtained by shading, combined with different levels of N availability obtained by the addition of N fertilizer or organic matter to inmobilize N. Nitrogen deficiencies delayed both vegetative and reproductive phenological development, slightly reduced leaf emergence rate, and strongly diminished leaf expansion rate and leaf area duration. Nitrogen deficiencies reduced radiation interception as much as radiation use efficiency and their effects on the ear dry matter/total dry matter ratio at harvest were associated with crop growth rate reductions at flowering. Dry matter partitioning to reproductive sinks at flowering and the ear dry matter/total dry matter ratio at harvest were reduced by N shortages. Significant relationships between kernel number and N accumulation rate or crop growth rate at flowering were fitted by linear + plateau functions with thresholds above which kernel number and grain yield did not increase.
Copyright © 1995.