GROWTH, YIELD AND ROOT DEVELOPMENT OF MAIZE AS INFLUENCED BY TILLAGE AND TRACTOR TRAFFIC
Keywords:tillage, maize crop, seed emergence, plant height, crop yield, root development
A field study was carried out to determine the effect of tillage treatments on growth and yield of maize (Zea mays L.). The experiment was conducted in the autumn 2012 and was repeated in the spring 2013. Four tillage treatments included in the study were: conventional tillage (CT), minimum tillage (MT), zero tillage (ZT) and controlled traffic farming (CTF). Randomized complete block design was used to arrange treatments with three replications. The crop parameters studied were: seedling emergence, crop growth, root development and yield. The seed emergence of maize crop was greater under CT, followed by MT, CTF and ZT during both seasons. The plant height was highest under CT (181.5 and 181.6 cm), followed by MT (173.3 and 173.6 cm), CTF (172.8 and 173.0 cm) and ZT (166.6 and 167.1 cm). Leaves plant -1, grains cob-1, 1000-grain weight were maximum under CT, followed by MT, CTF, while minimum under ZT for both the seasons. The grain yield was maximum under CT (5359.3 and 5378.0 kg ha-1), followed by MT (4939 and 4963 kg ha-1), CTF (4907.2 and 4961.2 kg ha-1) and minimum under ZT (4321.4 and 4331.7 kg ha-1). However, there was no significant difference among MT and CT treatments. The similar trends were observed during both seasons. Root length, fresh and dry root weights were maximum under CT, followed by MT, CTF and ZT during autumn 2012 and similar trends were observed during spring 2013. However, non-significant difference was found between MT and CTF during both seasons. Significant effects of root development on plant height and grain yield were recorded. It is concluded that CT is suitable for maize cultivation in a clay loam soil.
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