INSTITUTO DE FISIOLOGIA VEGETAL
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Senescence and yield responses to plant density in stay green andearlier-senescing maize hybrids from Argentina
ANTONIETTA, M.; D.D. FANELLO; H. A. ACCIARESI; J.J. GUIAMET
FIELD CROPS RESEARCH
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2014 vol. 155 p. 111 - 111
Increases in maize (Zea mays L.) yield over the past few decades have been associated with breeding for tolerance to progressively higher plant densities. Since high plant density exacerbates interplant competition, it has been suggested that improved resource capture through delayed senescence might be advantageous in such situations. The main objectives of this work were to determine (1) the time-course of canopy senescence, (2) post-silking C and N accumulation and (3) yield responses of contemporary maize hybrids with different expression of the stay green (SG) character grown in a range of plant densities from moderate to intense crowding stress. Three experiments consisting of a combination of different plant densities (from 6 to 10 pl m−2) and commercial hybrids with different timing of senescence were carried out. High density accelerated leaf senescence at the lower canopy layer. The SG hybrids delayed senescence and retained green leaves at physiological maturity at all tested densities. One of these hybrids (NK880), with a strong SG character, retained green leaves at all canopy layers, even at the lower layer exposed to limiting irradiance. Lower canopy leaves maintained high respiratory rates in NK880, while leaves of the NSG hybrid (DK682) senesced and their respiration became not detectable. At the highest tested density, the NSG DK682 achieved greater grain yields than the SG NK880. Increased density reduced kernel weight (KW), and this decrease was more pronounced for the SG NK880 (6?18% comparing 10vs. 8 pl m−2). In spite of delayed senescence in NK880, no hybrid differences were found for post-silking dry matter accumulation and plant dry matter at physiological maturity. Unexpectedly, plant nitrogen content (Nc) at harvest was similar (Exp. I) or even lower (P < 0.05, Exp. II) in the SG NK880. This was the result of lower net N accumulation during the post-silking period (Exp. I) or lower Nc achieved at silking (Exp. II) in the SG NK880. A strong positive relation was found between KW and N concentration in kernels, with %N in kernels being below the critical N concentration to achieve potential KW (around 1.4%) in the SG hybrid. This suggests that yield in NK880 was limited by N. In the SG genotype, N remobilization from vegetative organs did not seem to compensate for the N deficit for optimum grain growth. In summary, at high densities the NK880 hybrid displayed a strong, constitutive SG character, even if it accumulated less N, and senescence delay was not reflected in higher grain yield.