Articles

Effect of drought on yield components of maize hybrids (Zea mays L)


Abstract


When investigating drought tolerance, it must not be forgotten that drought stress is a complex phenomenon ex¬hibiting quite different characters in different years and locations. For this reason, the plant response to drought is also a complex process. In our study, 83 maize hybrids originating from various countries were investigated over a period of two years, under irrigated and non-irrigated conditions. The drought tolerance of plants in the non-irrigated plots was analysed in terms of flowering synchrony and yield components. It could be concluded from the results that in response to long-term water deficit the period between tasselling and silking became longer, while the analysis of yield components revealed the greatest reductions in the number of kernels per ear and in the proportion of seed set. As the degree of proterandry increased, there was a decline in the grain yield, confirming that the analysis of this trait could be a way of predicting drought tolerance. Considerable differences in drought tolerance were observed between the genetic materials included in the analysis, suggesting the presence among these parental lines and hybrids of genotypes resistant to long-term water deficit, suitable for cultivation under dry conditions. An analysis of correlations between the traits revealed that proterandry should be treated as a priority trait when investigating drought stress tolerance, as better predictions can be made of both drought tolerance and potential yields, leading to more reliable selection for higher yields.

Keywords

drought tolerance; yield components; proterandry; maize

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