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Maize Yield Response To Deficit Irrigation During Low-sensitive Growth Stages And Nitrogen Rate Under Semi-arid Climatic Conditions

C. Mansourifar, S. A. M. M. Sanavy, S. F. Saberali
Published 2010 · Economics

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Knowledge of crop production in suboptimal environmental conditions not only helps to sustain crop production but also aids in the design of low-input systems. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of water stress imposed at low-sensitive growth stages (vegetative, reproductive, and both vegetative and reproductive) and level of nitrogen (N) supply (100 and 200kgha-1) on the physiological and agronomic characteristics of two hybrids of maize (Zea mays L.). A two-site field experiment was carried out using a randomized complete block design with three replications and a split-factorial arrangement. A water deficit (WD) was induced by withholding irrigation at different stages of crop development. The results showed that proline content increased and the relative water content, leaf greenness, 100-kernel weight and grain yield decreased under conditions of WD. The highest IWUE was obtained when maize endured WD at vegetative stage at two sites. The limited irrigation imposed on maize during reproductive stage resulted in more yield reduction than that during vegetative stage, compared with fully irrigated treatment. The 100-kernel weight was the most sensitive yield component to determine the yield variation in maize plant when the WD treatments were imposed in low-sensitive growth stages. The results of the statistical regression analysis showed liner relationships between RGR during a period bracketing the V8 or R3 stages and 100-kernel weight in all the WD treatments. The increase of N supply improved yield and IWUE when maize plant endured once irrigation shortage at vegetative stage. But, the performance of high N fertilizer reduced and eliminated when water deficit imposed once at reproductive stage and twice at vegetative and reproductive stages, respectively. Furthermore, the response of T.C647 hybrid to increase of N supply was stronger than S.C647 hybrid.
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