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Plant growth regulator and its interactions with environment and genotype affect maize optimal plant density and yield

Zhang, Weiqiang, Yu, Chunxin, Zhang, Kai, Zhou, Yuyi, Tan, Weiming, Zhang, Lizhen, Li, Zhaohu, Duan, Liusheng
European journal of agronomy 2017 v.91 pp. 34-43
canopy, chlorides, corn, corn ears, cultivars, ethephon, genotype, grain yield, lodging, organochlorine compounds, phosphorous acid, plant density, plant growth substances, reactive oxygen species, risk, seeds
Increasing planting density is important to raise maize yield, however, high density often leads to an increase risk of lodging due to dense canopy and weak stem. Maize yield and optimal plant density are increased by applying plant growth regulator compound of ethephon and DA-6, however, we do not know if this compound would interact with location and genotype. In this study, a novel plant growth regulator, as the synthesis of N, N- diethyl − 2 − hexanoyl oxygen radicals − ethyl amine (2-ethyl chloride) phosphonic acid salt (DHEAP), combining the effects of ethephon and DA-6 in one chemical, was developed and tested at three locations, five plant densities (6.75, 8.25, 9.75, 11.25 and 12.75 plants m−2) and three cultivars in 2014–2015. This study aimed to quantify the interactions between environment, genotype and management (Appling DHEAP and plant density) on lodging-related optimal plant density and yield. DHEAP significantly increased grain yield by 10.7% due to the increases of kernel weight by 3.2% and kernel number per ear by 4.4%. On average across genotypes and environments, applying DHEAP increased optimum plant density by 6%. The optimal plant density interacted with cultivar, DHEAP and environment. Applying DHEAP reduced lodging percentage by lowering ear height. The yield-lodging relationship was affected by genotype and location. We concluded that maize yield could be enhanced by optimizing plant density, applying DHEAP and cultivar selection, but climatic and environmental differences of locations should be considered.