Improving the growth, lodging and yield of different density-resistance maize by optimising planting density and nitrogen fertilisation
Matching the planting density, fertilisation, and genotype is crucial to improve the maize yield. Here, two-year field trials, including 4 densities and 3 nitrogen (N) rates for 2 maize cultivars, were conducted to study the effects of planting density and N rate on maize growth, lodging, spike characters, and yield. Compared with 360 kg/ha, N application of 180 kg/ha decreased the plant, ear height, and stem circumference of WeiKe 702 (WK702), while increased the plant height and stem circumference, but decreased ear height of ZhongDan 909 (ZD909). Meanwhile, the N application of 180 kg/ha greatly reduced the lodging rates of maize under the high density. The maize yield increased and reached the maximum yield at 7.5 × 104 plant/ha, and then decreased with increasing density. The N application of 180 kg/ha increased yield by 0.49, 0.73, 5.38, 7.81% from low to high planting densities, and reduced the bald tip length by 18.86%. WK702 was more sensitive to the planting density and N application, with greater variation of yield and spike traits than ZD909 under the densification. Therefore, the N application of 180 kg/ha and a density of 7.5 × 104 plant/ha could improve maize growth and lodging, and therefore increase maize yield.
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