Yield of tropical Asian maize (Zea mays L) at alternating row irrigation and at severe drought


Drought is a major reason for inconsistent grain yield of maize in lowland tropical and subtropical areas. In bimodal rainy seasons with unequal amounts of rainfall, the shorter season requires germplasm with sufficient residual yields at various situations of low water availability. Thus farmers will avoid the risk of cultivation failure. The respective adaptation of eight Thai hybrids was tested in two dry seasons from late November 2003 to April 2005. Furrow irrigation of 40 mm was applied at seven days intervals from planting to physiological maturity (control, W1); 50% less water supply than W1 from the sixth week onwards by alternating irrigation of one of two rows (W2); withholding water from 5 weeks after planting to the beginning of anthesis (W3). At W3, three hybrids excelled with yields above 350 g m-2, i.e. residual yields of more than two of them performed very well at W2 too, with more than 650 g m-2, a residual yield of about 80%. This genetic range is encouraging to breed for earlier hybrids that can be cultivated in the minor rainy season with a reduced risk of failure.


maize; Thai hybrids; alternate row irrigation; drought

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