Date of this Version
Field Crops Research 120 (2011) 330–337; doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2010.10.013
Maize (Zea mays L.) produced in narrow rows can increase yields and accelerate canopy closure. Costly equipment modifications make narrow rows impractical, but a twin-row configuration may boost production with fewer equipment modifications. Four field experiments were conducted to measure weed biomass, leaf area index (LAI), and yield for a conventional (CN) and a glyphosate-resistant (GR) hybrid across three plant densities (low 4.0–4.4 plants m−2; medium 5.9–6.4 plants m−2; and high 7.9–8.4 plants m−2) and two row configurations (single vs. twin) in a conservation tillage system during the 2005 growing season. The experimental design was a split–split plot with a RCB arrangement of whole plots where hybrids were assigned to main plots, row configurations to subplots, and plant density to sub-subplots with four replications. Row configuration had little effect on weed biomass compared to plant density and hybrid. Leaf area index increased with higher plant density at all locations. In general, LAI increased with the twin-row configuration, but LAI also varied with hybrid based on interactions between hybrid and plant density or row configuration. Row configuration had little impact on maize yields, while plant density had the most effect on yields. Plant density also interacted with hybrid or row configuration at multiple locations, although maize yields did not always increase with higher plant density. Conventional hybrids may also provide an alternative to GR hybrids, particularly at lower plant densities. Maize yield increases with twin rows were minimal and may not justify twin row conversion under dry land conditions, but growers that already utilize twin-row equipment will not suffer yield decreases by planting twin rows.