Effect of Male Planting Date and Female Plant Population on Hybrid Maize Yield and Evaluation of Use of Hybrid-Maize Simulation Model for Grain Yield Estimation in Hybrid Maize Seed Production

  •  Lennin Musundire    
  •  Shorai Dari    
  •  John MacRoberts    
  •  H. S. Yang    
  •  John Derera    
  •  Pangirayi Tongoona    


The study was carried out to determine the effect of male planting date (MPD) and female plant population (FPP) on the grain yield (GY) performance of a three-way hybrid and to evaluate Hybrid-Maize simulation model for grain yield estimation in hybrid seed maize production. Fifteen treatment combinations of five MPD as a deviation from the female planting date and three FPP replicated three times were used. The Hybrid-Maize simulation model programme was used to forecast the possible GY outcomes for the fifteen treatments of the experiment using estimated parameters and weather data for the 2006/7 season. The field experiment produced significant (P < 0.005) main effects but non-significant interaction effects for GY, yield components and antheis-silking interval (ASI). Female seed yield was affected by time of male pollen shed relative to female silking: ASI, with highest yields associated with close synchrony (ASI= +/-3 days). ASI had a significant effect on the number of kernels per ear (KPE), with the greatest KPE (318) associated with an ASI of +/-3 days. FPP effects on yield are typical for maize, showing a curvilinear response from low to high density. The optimum population density for GY was 5.4 plants m-2. Simulation output from the Hybrid-Maize simulation model showed an overestimation of GY compare to the observed yield. Furthermore, the model was unable to predict yields for the low FPP of 2.7 plants m-2. We found that Hybrid-Maize simulation model has limited potential for simulating hybrid maize seed production, as it does not accommodate limitations that may occur during the growing season: difference in male and female planting dates, pollen density and dispersion. Hence, the fixed parameters for the Hybrid-Maize simulation model can only be used in maize commercial production.

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