Optimal plant density and nitrogen rates for improving off-season corn yields in Brazil


Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.)




ABSTRACT: Integrating plant density and nitrogen (N) management is a strategy for improving corn yields, especially for off-season corn production in the tropics. This study tested the hypothesis that increasing plant densities and N rates promotes yield gains for off-season corn production in high-yielding environments. The aim of the study was to investigate the yield performances of two hybrid versions (DKB PRO and DKB PRO3) submitted to three plant densities (55,000; 65,000 and 75,000 plants ha−1) and four N rates (control, 60, 120 and 180 kg ha−1 N). Field trials were undertaken at Uberlândia-MG (site1 and 2) and Pedro Afonso-TO (site 3), Brazil from which data on corn yield parameters were collected and analyzed. Multivariate analysis separated the three trial areas into two groups, presenting high (sites 1 and 2) and low yields (site 3), which were related to weather conditions. There was no influence of a hybrid version or plant densities on crop yields at site 1 or 2. In contrast, there was a positive response to increasing plant densities and the use of DKB PRO3 at site 3. A significant response to N was observed at sites 2 and 3, following a plateau model. Our results suggest that N application rates and plant densities do have the potential to increase off-season corn yields in low yielding environments.

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