Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bigger corn plants bully smaller neighbors in no-till fields

26.01.2010
It might not look like there's much going on in those roadside corn fields, but a Purdue University researcher has shown that corn plants are in a fierce battle with each other for resources.

Tony Vyn, a professor of agronomy, said it's been known for a long time that young corn plants are, on average, shorter in no-till, corn-on-corn fields, but that doesn't mean there is an overall stunting of growth among all plants. Instead, residue left over from last year's corn crop is changing soil conditions and creating a disadvantage for some plants fighting for sunlight, water and nutrients.

"There is a hierarchy that is formed, even though the plants are genetically the same and should be equal in size and stature," Vyn said about his findings, which were published in the early online version of the journal Soil & Tillage Research. "No-till corn yield reductions have little to do with an overall height reduction early in the season. They have more to do with height variability during vegetative growth."

Vyn said yield losses of up to 14 percent can be attributed to this competition in no-till fields where corn is planted the year after corn. In those fields, the leftover corn residue creates patches of soil with lower temperatures and different water and nutrient content. Seeds planted there are at a disadvantage.

"These conditions created by the field residue can affect root development," he said. "Plants that have better access to resources grow faster and then dominate their smaller neighbors."

Vyn studied plant height data over 14 years and found that there were pronounced height differences among plants by four weeks. It had been thought that a no-till field situation with high residue cover and no soil loosening uniformly reduced the height of all plants because of overall cooler soil temperatures, but Vyn said significant height differences were observed from plant to plant.

The negative consequences of this plant competition are exacerbated as planting density increases.

"For example, competition for nitrogen increases as crowding increases," Vyn said. "The higher the density, the greater the intensity of the competition for all resources."

Weather conditions, such as a lack of rainfall during a critical development period, also can affect the final yield from plants fighting for limited resources.

While some plants dominate and grow to their full potential, the smaller, dominated plants decrease the field's overall yield.

Vyn said growers should ensure during the previous year's harvest that residue cover will be uniform, that fields are drained adequately, that surface soil compaction is avoided and that nutrients are evenly distributed. No-till fields are desirable because they decrease the amount of nutrients running off into nearby water, but Vyn said newer tillage options, such as vertical tillage, are less disruptive than the traditional intensive tillage and could ensure more uniform conditions for seeds.

The next step in the research is to investigate how vertical tillage systems and nutrient banding affect plant height uniformity and yield in corn-on-corn fields and whether hybrids developed for rootworm resistance are as susceptible to plant height variations.

Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Purdue University funded the research, and Beck's Hybrids provided corn seed.

Writer: Brian Wallheimer, 765-496-2050, bwallhei@purdue.edu

Source: Tony Vyn, 765-496-3757, tvyn@purdue.edu

Brian Wallheimer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

Further reports about: corn plants corn-on-corn fields fighting for sunlight

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Climate change, population growth may lead to open ocean aquaculture
05.10.2017 | Oregon State University

nachricht New machine evaluates soybean at harvest for quality
04.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Osaka university researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>