Biotech Updates

Productive Corn Plants with the Right Resources

October 9, 2009

Increasing corn productivity may have to do with the crop's ability to respond to intense crowding and low nitrogen availability, said an article published in the online version of Agronomy Journal. The paper authored by Purdue University scientists led by agronomy professor Tony Vyn was conducted for three years involving 4,000 individual plants which were observed in detail from seedling emergence. The individual plants were exposed to three different plant densities and three different nitrogen rates.

Results showed that competition is enhanced at high plant densities, especially when nitrogen is limiting. Nitrogen like other nutrients becomes more essential at high plant densities. In addition, anthesis-to-silking interval is crucial in increasing final grain yield. If there is competition, plants will tend to shed pollen on time, but the emergence of the silk in the corn ear is delayed, resulting to low seed set and yield.

This research is important in the standpoint of the corn industry as they develop hybrids that can withstand high plant densities and limiting nitrogen.

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