Plant development and leaf area production in contrasting cultivars of maize grown in a cool temperate environment in the field
Birch, CJ and Vos, J and van der Putten, PEL, Plant development and leaf area production in contrasting cultivars of maize grown in a cool temperate environment in the field, European Journal of Agronomy, 19, (2) pp. 173-188. ISSN 1161-0301 (2003) [Refereed Article]
Crop models need accurate simulation of the interdependent processes of crop development and leaf area production. Crop development proceeds according to genotype characteristics and environmental influences, specifically temperature and photoperiod. It can be partly described by thermal requirements for development intervals and coefficients that describe genotype adaptation. The objectives of this study were to (a) quantify (i) time of tassel initiation, tasselling and silking; (ii) thermal intervals for initiation, appearance and expansion of successive leaves (iii) thermal duration from initiation to tip appearance and from tip appearance to collar appearance, and (iv) leaf area and canopy cover as measured by leaf area index (LAI) in contrasting cultivars of maize grown in the field in a cool environment; and (b) relate these to plant characteristics and environmental variables, particularly temperature. For these purposes, three cultivars of maize were grown in three and four cultivars in two serial plantings from 18 April to 24 June in field experiments at Wageningen, The Netherlands, in 1997, and detailed data on crop development, leaf production and environmental variables were collected. The base temperature (Tb) for maize was confirmed as 8°C, but thermal time calculation needs to be re-examined to explore a recovery period after chilling injury. Equations that relate foliar properties to total leaf number and ordinal leaf position were derived. Individual leaf area can be described by the modified bell curve, and differences in temporal increase in LAI were related to parameters of leaf initiation, appearance and expansion.