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Assessment of some major yield-limiting factors on maize production in a humid temperate environment

Subedi, K.D., Ma, B.L. (2009). Assessment of some major yield-limiting factors on maize production in a humid temperate environment, 110(1), 21-26.


Despite the availability of modern hybrids and better agronomic practices, there existed large gaps between attainable yield of maize (Zea mays L.) grown with recommended practices and producers' harvest yields in the humid temperate regions of eastern Canada. A field experiment was conducted for 3 years in Ottawa, Canada, to determine the most important management yield-limiting factor(s) on rainfed maize grain production. A package of recommended practices (RP) was composed with the recommended levels of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), micronutrients, chemical weed control, and plant population density (PPD). Each factor was modified from the RP, making a total of 11 treatments. Under the low occurrence of diseases or insects, weed infestation was the most important yield-limiting factor, which reduced grain yield by 27-38%. While lack of preplant N application (100 kg ha-1) reduced yield by 10-22%, there was no yield increment with additional sidedressing N (50 kg N ha-1). Grain yield was reduced by 8-13% with low PPD (60,000 plants ha-1) in all years, whereas increasing PPD to 90,000 plants ha-1 did not improve yield, compared with the RP. Withhold P application did not affect yield in all years, but yield was reduced by up to 13% in the absence of K, and by 10% and 12% without Zn or Mn, respectively, in 1 year. Our results indicated that lack of weed control (i.e. herbicide use) was the major yield-limiting factor followed by fertilizer N and PPD. The responses of grain yield to K, Zn, and Mn were site and/or year specific. Our study provided experimental data and an insight understanding of yield gap between genotype's yield potential achievable with recommended practices and yields with producers' practices. Crown Copyright © 2008.

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