Differential responses of maize yield to drought at vegetative and reproductive stages

https://doi.org/10.17221/141/2018-PSECitation:Mi N., Cai F., Zhang Y., Ji R., Zhang S., Wang Y. (2018): Differential responses of maize yield to drought at vegetative and reproductive stages. Plant Soil Environ., 64: 260-267.
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Determining the effects of progressive drought (PD) on dry matter production, partitioning, and grain yield of maize will help in designing a suitable strategy for water management. Though influences of drought on maize growth and development have been investigated extensively, few of them focused on the effects of different duration and occurrence stage of PD on yield formation of maize. Six variations of PD, in the form of withholding irrigation for varying lengths of time from jointing or tasselling, were tested in the field, using a mobile rain shelter, in terms of their effects on aboveground biomass accumulation, partitioning, and grain yield in 2015–2016. The results showed that grain yield was significantly reduced by PD during either vegetative or reproductive stage, and the reduction in grain yield from reproductive PD (41.6–46.6%) was greater than that from vegetative PD (18.6–26.2%). The decrease in grain yield was largely caused by the decrease in kernels per ear (r2 = 0.88, P < 0.001). This research implied that guaranteeing water supply for maize during reproductive stage is crucially important to avoid the reduction in kernels per ear and grain yield.


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