Effect of Sowing Date and Plant Density on Growth and Yield of Irrigated Maize (Zea mays L.) at Rahad (Sudan)

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Babiker, E.A.
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Faculty of Agriculture, University of Khartoum, Shambat, Sudan
Two field experiments were conducted at Rahad Research Station for two consecutive seasons (1992/93 and 1993/94) to investigate the effects of sowing date and plant density on growth and yield of irrigated maize. The sowing date experiment was carried out in both summer and winter seasons. It compared 14 sowing dates at 15-day intervals from June 1st to December 15th. The plant density experiment was conducted only in the summer season and consisted of 12 treatments (4 intra-plant spacings x 3 numbers of plants/hill). The results revealed that the optimum sowing date was between June Ist to July Ist. Significantly lower yields (1.5-0.2 t/ha) were obtained with delayed summer sowing (August to October) due to stem borer infestation, and no yields were recorded for winter sowing (November to December) due to the drastic damage incurred by the pest. The biological yield increased linearly with increasing plant density from 41 650 to 250 000 plants/ha, regardless of the spatial arrangement. On the other hand, the highest grain yield (6.1 t/ha) was obtained in 1992/93 with 20 cm intra-plant spacing and one plant/hill (62 500 plants/ha) at LAI of 4 and specific leaf weight of 6 g/cm2.
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