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Grain yield, evapotranspiration, and water-use efficiency of maize hybrids differing in drought tolerance
- Hao, Baozhen, Xue, Qingwu, Marek, Thomas H., Jessup, Kirk E., Becker, Jacob D., Hou, Xiaobo, Xu, Wenwei, Bynum, Edsel D., Bean, Brent W., Colaizzi, Paul D., Howell, Terry A.
- Irrigation science 2019 v.37 no.1 pp. 25-34
- breathing, corn, drought tolerance, evapotranspiration, grain yield, hybrids, irrigation, plant density, planting, water use efficiency
- Adoption of drought-tolerant (DT) hybrids is a viable strategy for maize production in drought-prone environments. We conducted four-year field studies (2011–2014) to investigate yield, crop evapotranspiration (ETc), and water-use efficiency (WUE) in one conventional (N58L) and one DT hybrid (N59B-DT) under three water regimes (I₁₀₀, I₇₅, and I₅₀, where the subscripts were the percentage of irrigation applied relative to meeting full ETc) and three plant densities. At I₁₀₀ and I₇₅, N59B-DT did not show advantage in yield and WUE relative to N58L, however, at I₅₀ it showed an advantage of 8.5% and 10.5%, respectively. At I₁₀₀ and I₇₅, high plant density treatment had greater grain yield (9.1%) and WUE (9.4%) than low plant density. Comparing hybrids, N59B-DT had greater yield (5.9%) and WUE (7.3%) than N58L at high plant density. N59B-DT had large advantage over N58L in yield (18.0%) and WUE (26.2%) when the hybrids were grown under severe water deficit (I₅₀) and high plant density (9.9 plants m⁻²). At I₅₀, increasing plant density reduced yield (14.1%) for N58L but did not affect yield for N59B-DT. On average, plant density had no effect on seasonal ETc but N59B-DT had more seasonal ETc than N58L at I₁₀₀ and I₇₅. The results of this study indicate that DT hybrid was tolerant to high panting density. Planting a DT hybrid with a higher plant density may provide greater yield stability under water-limited conditions while also maintaining maximum yield potential when moisture is sufficient.